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Northeast collaboration looks at shared issues

Neighborhood alliance moves forward

The Greater Hillyard-Northeast Planning Alliance is inviting northeast organizations, residents and neighbors to a new-beginnings meeting at Northeast Community Center on Wednesday.

The alliance has been a work in progress since 2009, when Bemiss, Hillyard and Whitman neighborhoods began collaborating on issues.

In 2010, the alliance published and received City Council approval for a consolidated plan for the three neighborhoods featuring 10 strategies for development that were identified by residents via a survey and community meetings.

This meeting is the first step toward implementing some of these strategies.

“We got a $5,000 innovation grant from the city this January,” said J.R. Sloan, one of the organizers of the alliance. “One of the 10 strategies was to create a nonprofit organization that can reach across the three neighborhoods.”

Sloan said he hopes a new name for the alliance will emerge in the process of registering and licensing the organization.

“No one outside of the northeast neighborhoods knows what that means,” said Sloan, chuckling, explaining that the name Greater Hillyard- Northeast Planning Alliance was chosen in an effort to be fair to all three neighborhoods. “Maybe we can call it something like ‘the Great Northeast’? I’ll leave that up to everyone else.”

On Wednesday, the plan is to come up with a set of by-laws, organize the nonprofit and create a board.

Sloan said $2,000 must be raised to register and license the nonprofit with the state.

“Anyone who shows up at the meeting will get a copy of the original plan,” Sloan said. “That way they can pick areas of interest that they would like to get involved in.” Among the 10 strategies are transportation, business development, infrastructure and public safety. Each strategy covers dozens of individual projects suggested by neighborhood residents.

Sloan is extending a special invitation to civic groups and religious organizations in northeast Spokane.

“Up until now we have had very little participation from churches and civic organizations, like the Kiwanis, for instance,” Sloan said. “And of course we want to see as many individual residents as possible – they make up our volunteer base. We need them.”