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Councilman Anthony Hairston promoting community participation, involvement: Cleveland City Council summer recess

September 7, 2018 GMT

Councilman Anthony Hairston promoting community participation, involvement: Cleveland City Council summer recess

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Councilman Anthony Hairston has spent his summer trying to get people involved to promote community pride. 

Over the last several weeks, Hairston has organized cleanups, ice cream socials and neighborhood meetings to entice residents in his ward to pitch in and take ownership of their community. 

“At the ward meetings you always have the same 10 people,” Hairston said. “I wanted residents to do something different and use it as a way to get people engaged.” 

Cleveland City Council is on summer recess, operating on a limited meeting schedule since the beginning of June. It resumes its regular meeting schedule on Monday.      

This story is the 14th installment in a cleveland.com series that looks at what council members are doing during the recess.     

Hairston is one of five newly elected members of City Council. He represents Ward 10, an area that follows the Shoreway up the East Side and includes all or parts of South Collinwood, St Clair-Superior, Glenville, Euclid Park and Nottingham Village neighborhoods. 

Over the summer, he has organized about half a dozen cleanup days where residents, local community development organizations and other groups pitched in to tackle local eyesores. 

“We took that as a time to clean and green our community,” Hairston said. “It creates a different feeling and it creates something that was missing” -- a sense of ownership and inclusion in the neighborhood. 

As part of fostering that sense of inclusion, Hairston had the residents decide what areas should be cleaned first. 

He thinks the effort has made a difference. For example, at one cleanup in Nottingham Village, he recounted, a grandmother wanted to take part in the cleanup, but was unable to attend. So, she sent her grandsons in her place. 

Since then, the grandsons have helped at other events, Hairston said. 

The events – cleanups, ice cream socials and ward meetings – that seek to get more residents active stem from the belief that with that engagement comes ownership in the community, civic pride and “a sense of resiliency.” 

And he plans to keep up the push. 

“It gets difficult at times, but if we just let difficult things get in our way, where would that leave us,” Hairston said. 

Previous stories: Cleveland City Council summer recess    

Councilman Matt Zone looking to make Cleveland streets more accommodating for bikes, pedestrians   Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli focused on quality of life issues Cleveland Councilman Kevin Kelley helping Old Brooklyn get prepped for school Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones focused on school issues  By phone, Facebook and tweets, Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland’s constituents keeping her busy  Councilwoman Dona Brady on the lookout for trouble in her ward   For Councilman Mike Polensek, fewer meetings means more focus on constituent calls   Councilman Kerry McCormack studying app technology as a way to improve downtown parking: Cleveland City Council summer recess   Councilwoman Jasmin Santana devoting summer recess to constituent services   Charter review, constituent calls keep summer schedule full for Councilman Martin Keane: Cleveland City Council summer recess   Councilman Basheer Jones’ ‘big impact’ idea would extend development benefits to neighborhoods    Tending to growth, tackling poverty issues key focus for Glenville councilman    Cleveland councilman focused on development, potential job gains in East Side ward  

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