Considerations on Potential City Support for RNOs
Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) supports the concept of additional support from the City of Denver for Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) activities; however recommends a flexible approach to improve community engagement and reduce barriers to participation that are tailored to each community.
SUN surveyed its membership about barriers to participation in RNO work in early 2017. Among 1,005 community responses, residents indicated that time (51%) and childcare (20%) were the most frequent barriers to community participation in SUN’s activities. As meetings frequently occur in the evening, SUN has considered offering food during meetings to encourage attendance and participation, and minimize the time impact of the meeting by allowing residents to combine the meeting time with dinner. As meetings occur in the Central Park Recreation Center, childcare is available for a fee for a portion of the meeting time, but not through the end of the board meeting (at 9pm).
Communication with residents is the core function of RNOs. While imperfect, email is reportedly the mode of preferred communication for 77% of residents in this community as reported in the aforementioned 2017 survey. Software packages for email communication that would integrate communication across social media and a web site exist.
The proposal to potentially list an RNO in poor standing if it fails to meet certain criteria potentially penalizes organizations that serve the most vulnerable. Rather than the threat of penalty, SUN suggests the allocation of resources to encourage participation. For the Stapleton community, allocating resources to provide childcare and food at monthly meetings, and access to improved technology for communication are anticipated to have the greatest impact in increasing community engagement. SUN recognizes that the needs across communities might vary and recommends that if resources are to be allocated to RNOs, the city take a flexible approach to accommodate different communities. SUN recommends input across RNOs and communities determine by what means the city could best support communities and their corresponding RNOs.
Save the Date: Annual Community Forum: Wednesday May 15, 6pm-8:30pm (The Cube)
In May of 2020, SUN’s Annual Community Forum will be held at The Cube on Wednesday May 15 (in lieu of a third Tuesday monthly SUN meeting for May). The change in timing of this meeting is to accommodate schedules of presenters in the presence of a large retail expo out of state, which the annual forum has conflicted with in the past. At this larger community meeting, the agenda will begin with SUN’s annual elections (see below); followed by development updates on retail and housing from Brookfield and other area developers. Other speakers to be announced.
Seeking Volunteers to Serve on the SUN Board
Residents interested in civic engagement at the community level are encouraged to attend SUN’s monthly meetings.
SUN meets in the Central Park Rec Center on the third Tuesday of most months from 6:30pm-8:30pm, where the first hour includes speakers from city agencies or community organizations, a brief break at 7:25pm when attendees can come/go with minimal disruption, and a discussion-focused second hour. Speakers for early 2020 include: School Choice in January, the Census in February, and Public Works in March.
SUN is comprised solely of volunteers and serves a threefold mission: to provide a forum for our residents; to maintain a communication network between ourselves, our neighboring Denver residents, and the City of Denver; and to act on issues of importance to the community as a whole. SUN facilitates community discussion of key issues, encourages in proactive steps to avoid problems and conflict, and is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. SUN seeks to be comprised of a diverse group of community members who share this purpose and principles.
Annually at SUN’s community forum in May, a slate of SUN board candidates is presented to the community. Nominations for the slate will be discussed at SUN’s March 17 monthly meeting. Interested residents should have attended at least one monthly meeting. Residents can initiate a nomination for themselves or a neighbor for a 2-year term on the SUN board in person at a monthly meeting or by emailing: StapletonUnitedNeighbors@gmail.com.