Canals resident Susie Stark had struggled for years to try to start a civic association in her neighborhood. After Hurricane Sandy, though, her efforts finally started to gain traction.
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Stark recruited four of her neighbors to form the new North East Bay & Canal Civic Association, which will hold an inaugural public meeting next week.
Barnes Street resident Jill Backlin, a founder of the association who will serve as its president, said that after the October storm the timing was perfect to finally get the organization off the ground. “The destruction and devastation caused by Sandy prompted a renewed interest as concerned residents have become desperate for a voice,” she told Patch.
The association is touted as a not-for-profit, non-political, non-partisan organization designed to address issues of neighborhoods in northeast Long Beach “in order to make them a safer, more beautiful place to live,” states a press release the association is circulating around town.
The association's boundaries extend north from East Park Avenue to Reynolds Channel and east to west from Curley Street to Long Beach Boulevard, and will include homes that border the east side of Curley on the Bob Johns Canal. Homeowners or tenants in these areas who have rented property for at least one year are eligible for membership.
The North East Bay & Canal Civic Association’s most immediate concerns, Backlin said, are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bay protection plan, following the substantial flood damage the canals and bayside homes sustained during Sandy. The Army Corps, however, is not expected to start to survey the area until 2015.
“[I]t is almost a year later and we are no more protected than we were before Sandy and hurricane season is upon us,” Backlin noted.
The association also plans to address a host of other issues relevant to the area, including the quality of the streets and sewer system, subdivision of residential properties, traffic safety and pigeon infestation.
“We are not looking to take on City Hall, we are looking to be proactive about the issues faced by our neighborhoods and intend to work with the city in the most efficient and effective ways possible to address the safety of the North East Bay and Canal areas,” Backlin said.
The North East Bay & Canal Civic Association will meet at the Long Beach Library starting at 7:45 p.m. Aug. 21.For more information on the association or to obtain a membership application prior to the meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.