Residents in Columbia's central neighborhood voice their concerns

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COLUMBIA - Columbia's central neighborhood hosted its first Citizens' Alliance Meeting on Saturday morning at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

The Citizens' Alliance Meeting facilitated different stations where a community organizer addressed five different concerns. 

The five stations covered infrastructure, community policing, affordable housing, homelessness, and downzoning. 

Zandra DeAraujo, president of the West Ash Neighborhood Association, said she wants to get perspectives from people living in the central city neighborhoods in light of the new leadership in city government. 

"I'm hoping that people in these neighborhoods are willing to talk about their experiences and become more involved in these organized discussions," she said. 

Residents like Jill Lucht came to express their issues and concerns about their neighborhood but left the meeting learning about the collective challenges central neighborhoods face.

"There was a table about affordable housing and addressing homeless in our community and that really is something that's important to me," she said. "It's not something I think about daily."

Organizers wanted direct feedback from all of the residents. Lucht said she appreciated how the meeting brought issues to the table. 

"I think it's important for neighborhoods to get together and for the people that live there to talk together," she said. 

On Saturday evening, the alliance planned to compile the residents' comments and concerns and follow up with all of participants on what they want to see from future meetings.