University City

New partnership serves University City

Did you know that more than 600 neighborhoods make up the University City area? Chances are you live in one of them.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's University City Division and the city of Charlotte's Neighborhood and Business Services Department have teamed up to better serve residents throughout the city. They've divided the city into four service areas: Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.

If you live in the University City area, you now are part of the Northeast Service Area.

"For the first time, the city has aligned their services with our division," said police Capt. Freda Lester. "The seamless delivery of services to our community is the key to our success."

On Oct. 12, details were outlined during a quarterly leadership meeting sponsored by the University City police division. The meetings are open to the public and start at 6:30 p.m. at the University Hilton, 8629 J.M. Keynes Drive. The next meeting will be in January.

Eugene Bradley and Mike Hawkins are the Northeast Service Area team leaders for Neighborhood and Business Services. They are responsible for a wide variety of services, including code enforcement, community commerce (meaning neighborhood resources), economic development, housing services and neighborhood matching grants. They also offer a Community University Leadership Program.

"We aligned with the police model to provide better service delivery," said Bradley.

During the Oct. 12 meeting, Bradley explained how the partnership would get more work accomplished. Detailed brochures were distributed, outlining all services.

To download a copy of the brochure, go to charmeck.org, click on the "Departments" link, then click on "Neighborhood and Business Services." To get hard copies to distribute at a neighborhood meeting, call Lori Reece: 704-336-2636. Call the same number to have a member of the code enforcement team speak at a meeting.

Trying to outline each service area would be impossible in this column; Code Enforcement alone deals with housing, graffiti, nonresidential building codes, health and sanitation, as well as signs.

Other examples of the kinds of issues Neighborhood and Business Services deal with:

If a neighbor lets grass grow a foot high or higher, or if an abandoned house is being vandalized, contact one of the Northeast Service Area team leaders.

For information about how to better organize your neighborhood, or to plan a neighborhood festival, contact those same team leaders.

During the meeting, Lester and her four response-area leaders provided detailed crime statistics and other information to help residents. She said her division had the No. 1 crime-reduction rate in the city and attributed some of that success to citizen involvement.

The goal of this collaborative effort between police and the Neighborhood and Business Services Department is to enhance service to the community and improve the quality of life for residents. That's a goal we can all appreciate.

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