The City of Knoxville on Friday announced a new Office of Neighborhood initiative. The funds for the initiative is coming from contributions the city has sent to the East TN Foundation that were redistributed to community grants. In three years, the city gave $90,000 and East TN Foundation paid out $89,800 in grants during those three years.
The new initiative is three fold. First they will launch "Building Strong Neighborhood Organization. It will provide workshops and seminars. It will be aimed at everyone, not just neighborhood leaders. It will include peer to peer training. Second, the city will hold a neighborhood conference Saturday October 27. The intent is to bring neighborhood leaders, local officials and citizens. Finally, the Office of Neighborhoods will provide free copying services to neighborhood organizations for newsletters and fliers they distribute within their defined boundaries.
The big red flag is the free copying service. What will the administration do when a neighborhood organization is wanting copies that disagree with the city administration or city council positions. What if the neighborhood is advocating a campaign to organize a "throw the tea into the Tennessee River" or a civil disobedience demonstration, will the Office of Neighborhoods censure or refuse service to entities that disagree with the administration or council.