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GNAT examines past, looks to 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Good Neighbor Action Team met February 4 and is making plans for 2013.

This team is part of the Fort Scott Visioning/Public Square group of concerned Fort Scotians that started visioning ideas for the community's future about seven years ago.

This group provides practical service for the community by providing help with manpower, equipment and money in making homes more appealing from the street.

Their revised mission is to improve curb appeal, with such projects as painting homes, repairing porches, minor issues.

"The city helps us identify folks that are struggling, and puts them in contact with us," Craig Campbell, leader of GNAT, said. The City of Fort Scott also helps with "the rules and regulations of helping folks."

Local churches are the backbone of the work groups.

"We feel that the strongest groups are the church groups. What our experience has been is that the church is most able to rally the troops," Campbell said.

GNAT completed 10 outside renovation projects in 2012.

"Some were in line with our new mission, curb appeal...painting, fixing porches," Campbell said. "Seven out of the 10. Some were bigger than our scope and did not fit the mission, several did not fit our stated direction."

What the group has learned after discussion at the meeting, is that "When a project doesn't fit, we've got to tell people. We want to help everyone, but we can't."

Campbell went over GNAT's goals for 2013.

"Stay consistent to the mission. More curb appeal stuff. No roof projects.We will work on issues of debris, inoperable cars, overgrown foliage, painting, fixing handrails," he said.

They are also going to make a commitment to have the volunteer groups slated for only four hours work on a Saturday or whatever time that works for them.

Additionally, the Good Neighbor Action Team needs people to serve on this committee.

"We need a couple more members," Campbell said.

To fund upcoming projects, a fund raising letter will need to be sent out, he added.

The partnering with churches is ongoing. The Nazarene Church will be repairing homes in need of curb appeal, given the GNAT by the city, starting in March or April.

"The Codes people have brought us three projects, stuff that has come up in the last couple of months," Campbell noted.

Members of GNAT are Campbell, Scott Moore, William James Schafer, Carol Hill, Blake Lundberg, Nicole Goldstein, Jeff Dilley and Jara Martin. Dave Martin, city manager, and Brent Crays, city code enforcement, come when they are available and give input to the group.

The group will be meeting next at noon on February 25 at Mercy Hospital, 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

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