About 40 people filled a second-floor meeting room at Old City Hall on Thursday for the inaugural meeting of a new neighborhood revitalization group.
The Historic Brunswick Neighborhood Planning Assembly‘s steering committee led the hour-and-a-half meeting, giving attendees an outline of its goals and purpose.
“As we look at the overall picture, collectively, our voice will be much stronger than one voice calling the city about trash or potholes,” said Lance Sabbe, the NPA’s moderator and a member of the steering committee.
The Historic Brunswick NPA is the second such group sanctioned by city commissioners, and represents residents and business owners in Old Town, South End, Windsor and Habersham parks, Urbana, Dixville and downtown Brunswick.
Its goal is to act as a conduit between residents and city officials, bringing forward the concerns and suggestions of residents, as well as organizing events and services.
After a brief introduction, Sabbe opened the floor for attendees to discuss matters they feel are impactful in their neighborhoods.
Jerry Spencer, an Old Town resident of 30 years, said he was concerned about the financial cost of a proposed convention center in downtown Brunswick.
Beth Sutton of Albany Street, an avid swimmer, said she was perturbed about ongoing maintenance issues with the public swimming pool at Howard Coffin Park — a sentiment similar to one voiced by Willie Simmons of Urbana.
“I walk out at the track,” Simmons said of the exercise area at the park. “But that track is in terrible condition. There are divets, cracks, potholes — it’s barely wide enough for two men my side to walk side by side.”
He said he and his grandson have taken to calling the track an “obstacle course.”
There were other concerns, too.
Lois Henry, a Windsor Park resident and owner of the Newcastle Street business Color Me Happy, said she’s tired of seeing run-down street signs and wonky street lights in the downtown business district.
While the group decided to table a discussion of whether or not to seek nonprofit organization status, other goals were set: the creation of a website, a target to host two social events and the creation of a neighborhood welcome packet, among others.
Sabbe, the committee’s moderator, also noted that H2O Creative Group on Newcastle Street has also agreed to donate a website for the organization.
At the end of the meeting, attendees were also invited to sign up for subcommittees broken down into specific skill areas. Communications, events, legal, membership, neighborhood watch, beautification, fundraising and welcome team were all among the options.
Although the meeting closed with no significant formal action, it was a first step toward organizing the new group, which will meet again next at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at Old City Hall, 1229 Newcastle St. in Brunswick.
Search “Historic Brunswick Neighborhood Planning Assembly” on Facebook for more information and updates.