On Tuesday, August 19th, the Neighborhood Services Department sponsored a Garden Hills Neighborhood Landlord Round Table Breakfast at El Toro Bravo in Champaign. The landlord engagement activity was the first outreach activity to engage landlords as part of the Code Compliance Action Plan for the Garden Hills Neighborhood. Property Owners in the Garden Hills Neighborhood were invited to attend and participate in the creation of a partnership between themselves and the Neighborhood Services Department. Two hundred forty eight invitations were extended to rental property owners in the Garden Hills Neighborhood. Fifteen rental property owners accepted the invitation and were in attendance for the breakfast discussion.
Neighborhood Services Director Kevin Jackson opened the meeting by encouraging property owners to work with the City and raise their own personal level of responsibility in the partnership. Kevin also shared the City’s Neighborhood Wellness philosophy with the attendees. Property Maintenance Inspector Michael Lambert reviewed the current existing housing and property maintenance concerns in the Garden Hills area with attendees, and presented them with copies of the ‘Garden Hills Neighborhood Existing Housing Conditions’ and the ‘Garden Hills Neighborhood Code Compliance Action Plan’. Code Compliance Manager David Oliver facilitated the meeting, sharing various educational opportunities available to property owners as well as provided attendees with an overview of the Code Compliance Action Plan for the neighborhood. David explained the next activity within the neighborhood would be distribution of door hangers and an explanation was provided to the landlords regarding the content material. David also led a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) discussion with the property owners. The group discussed the need for streetlights and sidewalks, as well as the need for more responsibility from other property owners in respect to their tenant selection and the need for a park on the south side of Garden Hills for residents. Neighborhood Coordinator John Ruffin presented information about the United Garden Hills Neighborhood Association (UGHNA), including its meeting dates, times and location. John also introduced Christy Gibas with the Central Illinois Rental Property Professionals (CIRPP), who provided a brief overview of CIRPP and its activities. John then informed the group of the upcoming ‘STAR Day of Service’ taking place on Saturday, August 23rd, and the efforts that NSD would be making in the Garden Hills area on this date. City Council Members Deb Frank-Feinen, Will Kyles, Karen Foster and Vic McIntosh were also in attendance, offering suggestions and support of this partnership.