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Public and Private Agencies, Model Cities
Kansas City, Mo., Police Department
Neighborhood Planning Group
A NEW PARTNERSHIP
A NEW PARTNERSHIP
Kansas City Model Cities seeks to be a different kind of government agency.
• Its goals are within reach.
• Its method is planning-then action.
Its program is designed by the people it
Model Cities plans, co-ordinates, and evaluates an effort to improve the quality of urban life. Using the city as a workshop, it attempts to build a model-a pattern-of public and private efforts especially tailored to Kansas City's needs.
Those needs are not dictated by desk men, but are delineated by the citizens and yovernment, working together in partnership. The citizens, aided by urban specialists, also suggest solutions which are incorporated in Model Cities projects. Finally, Model Neighborhood residents have the responsibility of working with government as partners in carrying out these projects.
Without citizens participating in the total effort, Model Cities will fail.
With them, it cannot help but succeed.
By the mid-Sixties it became apparent that the cities of America were in serious trouble, despite tederal, state, and local governmental programs designed to relieve the causes of urban deterioration: poverty, crime, unemployment, the middle-class exodus to the suburbs, and the rest.
So the Demonstration Cities Act of 1966 was passed by Congress to create the Model Cities Program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was empowered to launch this broad, creative approach to urban problems.
Rather than by-passing local governments, HUD was to work closely with mayors and city councils. Rather than initiating another single-project program directed toward one functional problem, HUD was to administer a flexible approach to link related programs. Rather than imposing theories on citizens, HUD was to listen to the voice of the people in each of the Model Cities,
Kansas City was among the first 63 cities chosen to begin this exciting experiment. The planning effort here officially began in August, 1968, when James I. Threatt assumed his duties as executive director of Kansas City Model Cities.
Major Model Cities functions include monitoring program administration, program planning, program evaluation, and business, management and accounting. These activities are reflected in the staff. Major responsibilities for monitoring, planning, and evaluation is assigned to program specialists in each of the functional areas, such as health, recreation, economic development, and so forth.
Seven areas were designated as the Model Neighborhoods: the West Side (Area I), the inner city (Areas 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D), Dunbar (Area 3), and Columbus Park (Area 4), and they were incorporated and funded for planning by Kansas City Model Cities. By action of the City Council, $10,000 was allocated to each NPG for the planning period. Each NPG was able to retain expert planning assistance of its own choice.
Then began hard work, evenings and weekends without pay, seeking a common goal.
NPGs divided into functional committees for each of 10 major fields of concern: municipal services and facilities; health; housing; transportation; welfare and social services; education; crime, delinquency and administration
of justice; economic development and employment; recreation and culture; and citizen participation.
Each of the functional committees, together with local urban experts and the Model Cities staft, identified the pressing problems in each field, analyzed causes, and suggested solutions.
The Kansas City Times called the problem analysis "amazingly thorough ... imaginative and to the point."
From these reports, the citizens and the Model Cities staff developed their first-year comprehensive program, which was approved by the Model Cities Board and the City Council and submitted to HUD on May 30, 1969.
HUD formally notified Kansas City Model Cities of its acceptance September 10, 1969, and Model Cities was allocated $8.7 million for its First Action Year, which officially began November 1, 1969.
Model Cities projects are carried out by other agencies or nonprofit corporations (called operating agencies-OAs) under contract, with funds provided by Model Cities and, in many cases, with additional grants from other governmental sources. During late 1969 and early 1970, contracts have been negotiated, signed and approved by the City Council. Upon Council approval, the OAs may begin operation of projects.
The Model Cities staff monitors and reviews the progress of each project on a monthly basis to insure strict compliance to the terms of each contract, including employment of MN residents.
Model Cities' First Action Year will generate several hundred part-and full-time jobs. To insure that MN residents benefit as much as possible from these employment opportunities a job "clearinghouse" system has been established.
Each NPG has on file application forms from each OA, as well as a list of required qualifications for each position.