What is the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council?

It’s a grassroots, all-volunteer group of residents, business owners and community leaders from across the neighborhood. They work with each other, outside organizations, as well as the City of Spokane to give Emerson-Garfield a unified voice and help direct the collective energies of the neighborhood toward common goals.

Who’s on the neighborhood council?

You. If you live, work or own property in Emerson-Garfield (here’s a map), there’s a spot for you on the council. It’s not exclusive, and there are zero dues or fees.

At any given time, there are about 30 to 50 people of all ages and backgrounds regularly participating in council meetings and activities. That makes it one of the most active—if not the most active—in Spokane, but the goal of any civic organization is naturally to have as much participation and the broadest representation possible.

When and where does it meet?

The second Wednesday of every month, though we usually vote to take a break in January (hey, it’s right after Christmas) and July (hey, it’s summer).

The meetings are held on the top floor of the Corbin Senior Activity Center each month except August, when we hold a free, neighborhood-wide outdoor potluck in either Corbin or Emerson Park.

What does the council do?

Lots of things. It identifies things that need improving and improves them. It identifies neighborhood strengths and strengthens them. It makes sure local organizations know about Emerson-Garfield and encourages them to have a stake in our neighborhood. It plans, organizes and puts on neighborhood events. It keeps people informed about development, changes and opportunities.

The Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market? That’s a council initiative. The annual Spring Cleanup? The council organizes that. Concerts in the Park? Neighborhood potlucks? Long-term neighborhood planning? Tree plantings? The council does all that.

And with your help, it could do even more. Bike festivals? Street fairs? Theater in the park? The sky’s the limit.

What’s the benefit to participating?

If you’ve ever complained about something neighborhood-related, the neighborhood council gives you the most stable, proven path to actually addressing it. If you’ve ever read a local news story about something happening in Emerson-Garfield and said, “I didn’t know about that,” chances are it was discussed at the neighborhood council six months ago. If you ever wished there were more fun, cool things going on a block or two from your house, the council can help you make that happen.

Most importantly, the council gives you a convenient, informal way to connect with the people who make up your neighborhood. In an age where so much interaction with those around us takes place through a screen, the neighborhood council offers a way to mix with people of different ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds in person and find common ground and consensus.

I want traffic calming, sidewalks, Block Watch etc. Will you do that for me?

The neighborhood council is more like an instrument than a service. As an organization, we’ll put our combined knowledge, experience, legitimacy and support behind whatever you want to achieve on your block, but you’d better be prepared to do some legwork.

What’s the time commitment?

As much or as little as you want.

Monthly meetings run from from 6-7:30pm and adhere closely to those 90 minutes. It’s family friendly, too, so feel free to bring little ones.

But there are plenty of committees (both neighborhood and city-level), ad hoc groups and one-time volunteering gigs that could use your help. Every minute you invest pays huge dividends by directly improving the area you live in.

How can I get involved?

The easiest way is to simply attend the next Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting. Times, dates and locations are all provided above. Upcoming volunteer opportunities are announced at pretty much every meeting.

If you’d rather just dip your toe in things, that’s fine. Put in an hour or two at the farmers market (click here to send an e-mail). Help out at Spring Cleanup (click here to send an e-mail). Or just come out the next time you see a call for volunteers on our social media.

What if I still have questions?

Drop us a line and we’ll do our best to respond quickly and in detail to any lingering questions you might have.

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