Citizen's Participation Academy... Citizen's Participation Academy... there are so many different directions that I can take this post, but I'm going to attempt to paint a picture as to what this sort of program could
do for the right person. Say that you're a community activist, or you have a local non-profit, and you've been having a hard time navigating City Hall. Maybe you don't know what all of the departments do, or who to talk to in each department. Well, here's your chance to meet the decision-makers, and to learn from them what it takes to manage and operate the city.
Here' s an academy that is designed to teach you the ins and outs of the City of Buffalo. Have you ever thought about starting a business, such as a production company, but you're not sure how to work with the city to obtain the proper permits? And you know that you're going to be dealing with City Hall for as long as you are in the business... especially if you're the head of, say, some sort of food truck alliance. Or a block club. It might be a good thing to attend classes in order to best service your organization or business. Especially since rules and regulations are constantly changing. Heck, maybe you even have a thing for government and want to work in City Hall some day. Mayor Brown stated, "The goal of this initiative is to give practical and relevant information to citizens, while creating an informal environment where city administrators and officials can interact with concerned residents, who care about the future of our city. By extracting the wealth of experience of these officials, and in turn empowering citizens, we will create a citizenry, educated and informed about the principles of civic action, and excited about community involvement."
In the end, we've all heard the horror stories of trying to open a business or trying to get your infrastructure improvements for your commercial district. We've also heard about some shining examples of entrepreneurs who have mastered the art of working with The City. What is it that some people know, but others do not? Whatever the case may be, just know that an application is required to enter into this academy (I'm not sure why since it's free.) It's a ten-session course (ouch!), but if you can't figure out the City of Buffalo after ten 3-hour classes, then I'm not really sure what else one can do. Has anyone out there ever gone through this academy and lived to tell the story?
*This free 10-session course, geared towards City of Buffalo residents age 18 and older, is offered during the spring and fall. Applications, available at the Division of Citizen Services, 218 City Hall and on the City's website will be accepted until June 8th 2012. For additional information please email email@example.com or call CPA Coordinator William Donovan at 716-851-5672.