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Seeking increased participation, OWN to hold Jan. 23 town hall in local bar

       Hoping to reach out to more people, the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) will hold its annual Town Hall meeting Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Meadow Muffins restaurant/tavern.
       Going from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m., the event will be in the back part of the building at 2432 W. Colorado Ave.
       “I don't know if it will work or not, but it will be interesting,” said OWN President Welling Clark. The idea is that meeting in a casual location, where people can participate while enjoying food and beverages, will be more appealing than “big box” meetings with “lines of chairs,” he elaborated.
       He's also hopeful that people will be interested in the meeting for its own merits. As outlined in the Westside Story newsletter that OWN just mailed out to people in the Westside Neighborhood Strategy Area (NSA), the topics will be:
  • Election to fill four positions on the nine-member OWN Board of Directors. Three of these are held by incumbents - Clark, Vice President Mary Gallivan and Secretary Chris Baum - with only Gallivan having expressed a strong interest in staying on.
           The terms are for three years each, except the non-incumbent seat, which has one year remaining on a three-year term. People who live or own property in the NSA are eligible to vote or run for a seat.
  • Comments by City Council President Keith King, whose District 3 includes most of the Westside NSA (for which OWN is the city-recognized neighborhood advocacy group).
  • Presentation on the launch of the Early Books Early Reading program (see story).
  • Update on the Westside Avenue Action Plan study that started in 2012 and is leading up to a design for a $12 million Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority project west of 31st Street in 2015.
  • Avenue Task Force update. This is a group, including OWN members, that's been working with local government to address crime problems west of 31st Street.
  • A report by the Avenue Merchants on the possibilities of annexing unincorporated areas west of 31st into the city, believing that the current multi-jurisdictional situation unnecessarily complicates law enforcement and public improvements.
  • Information about flood insurance from a local agent.
           Based on discussions at two recent OWN board meetings, board members hope the Meadow Muffins town hall will start a trend in which the group regularly schedules town halls in non-traditional locations where people are likely to congregate, or at least might feel more comfortable.
           OWN's town halls in recent years have been at the Westside Community Center. The board also holds its monthly business meetings there.
           “We're trying to encourage participation in making this a better neighborhood, which is the main goal of OWN,” Clark explained.
           He added that on Jan. 23 he will try to get through the meeting business before 8 p.m., when a DJ is slated to come on.
           Board member Brad Collins, another proponent of the plan, was not concerned about bar distractions. If more people get involved as a result, “a little noise in the background is a small price to pay,” he said.

    Westside Pioneer article
    (Posted 1/17/14)

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