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Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study

CCN is now an association of 64 neighborhood groups and, at any specific meeting, attracts presidents of approximately two thirds of its constituent or-


Moreover, the relationship between neighborhood groups and

city government has matured. At first, many of the meetings between com- munity groups (whether individual groups, clusters of groups, or later CCN) and city government was largely confrontational—“Why aren’t you doing this?” “Why are we left out?”—with the city responding defensively. Later, as city government and the neighborhood groups gained experience with each other, the relationship became less confrontational and more collaborative. Additionally, as CCN grew and city government worked hard to develop pri- orities in an equitable fashion across neighborhoods, the nature of the rela- tionship among neighborhoods themselves changed, shifting from a some- what defensive, zero-sum relationship (if you get it, we don’t) to one of col- laboration in defining priorities. By the 1990s, CCN began to develop and push for its own positive program. It was incorporated in 1993. The city now provides it with a small annual stipend, $3000, for incidental expenses. Of the constituent groups, one-third are incorporated and all have by-laws. Traditionally, leadership of the CCN alternates between white and black rep- resentatives. As will be noted below, the CCN was a pivotal force in the de- velopment of the CCP plan.

Strong Additional Partners: Inner City Churches

While they are not CCP players in a technical sense, inner city churches (many predominately African-American, but not exclusively so) play a signifi- cant role in developing a truly comprehensive approach to dealing with crime and the quality of life in Columbia. One is struck when going through inner city neighborhoods, especially Eau Claire, not just that there are many churches, but that churches are thriving.

The House of Prayer, for example, is in a magnificent new building in the middle of 16 newly constructed, single family brick homes and 27 brick, sin- gle story one and two bedrooms apartments for the elderly. The new church building, which did not require financing, is owned by the Christian religious community known as the House of Prayer. The housing for the elderly was built by the House of Prayer for its members, so that “they can live out their golden years in their community and near their church and friends.” The new houses were built by the city, through its redevelopment program. All— the church, the housing for the elderly, and the single family homes (called Church Place)—were built on reclaimed land and represent a collaboration between the city and church to rebuild a community. The city condemned the land for the church and the elderly housing and made it available to the church to purchase. Collaboration is more than political, it is in the details as well: when the church planned its housing for the elderly, they were to have wood siding. The city development agency indicated that the city was

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