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New grass-roots organization wants to make Crestwood better place to live


June 22, 2005 - Staff Report

A grass-roots group of Crestwood residents is forming with the goal of making Crestwood a better place to live.

The group, called the Crestwood Community Solutions Association, wants to form an ongoing partnership between the community and the community government and believes it's time to formulate a new strategic plan for the city of Crestwood.

"It's not intended to be partisan in any way,'' founder Karen Trueblood said of the association. "This is for people from all spectrums of the community who want to find solutions'' to Crestwood's problems.

In a June 18 letter to Crestwood City Administrator Don Greer, Trueblood and several other members of the association urged city officials to consider seeking the services of Miranda Duncan, a community development specialist for the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Outreach and Extension Department, for a work session of the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, June 28.

Duncan has experience in conducting mediation to aid in the settlement of community disputes, the letter states, urging officials to contact her "to request her assistance in connection with our current issues of staffing and capital improvements. It would be particularly desirable to have Ms. Duncan's assistance at or before the upcoming work session on June 28th.''

The group's mission, according to a news release, is "to facilitate the long-term viability of Crestwood, making progress toward common goals of the community through the structured exchange of ideas and the pro-active solutions from citizens. Through the unification of people, energy and opportunities for activism training, Crestwood Community Solutions Association will benefit residents by providing an effective link with government officials to identify common goals and develop a grass-roots driven strategic plan.''

While the strengths identified in the Crestwood Com-mission 2000 report still are valid reasons to live and work in Crestwood, it's time to update that report, she said.

The news release outlines several strengths Crestwood has, including a low crime rate, well-maintained parks, high property values, friendly neighborhoods, low tax rates and complete infrastructure among other things.

"In the recent past, these assets have been eclipsed by presumptions of bad intent, negative media coverage, angry citizens and dysfunctional politics,'' the release states.

"I still believe it's a great community,'' Trueblood told the Call.

To help make Crestwood a better place to live, the group's action plan includes:

Analyzing progress toward the goals articulated in the Crestwood Commission 2000 report.

Utilizing mediation resources through the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Outreach and Extension Department to resolve disputes concerning uncompleted projects, in-cluding completion of the City Hall renovation to include a new police facility.

Initiating Community Asset Mapping, an inventory of the strengths and gifts of the people who make up Crestwood. Once completed, this process will provide new ideas about directions for the community. As more citizens become involved, bringing ideas as well as skills and resources, new approaches to old problems can evolve.

Providing opportunities for citizen activism, focusing on the deliberative process for consensus building.

Initiating the Missouri Community Assessment and Planning through the Missouri Depart-ment of Economic Development's Com-munity Development Division in cooperation with Crestwood government.

Applying for Star City, Five-Star City or All-Missouri Certified City status after completing the MOCAPP process.

The association's membership currently is less than 10, but new members are being sought.

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