Iowa City grassroots group starts door-to-door campaign - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City grassroots group starts door-to-door campaign


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Last week we reported that a new grassroots group called "the coalition" met in Iowa City's southeast side, to solve the problems of violence that have plagued that neighborhood.

Tuesday night, members of the coalition took the first step in going door-to-door, to try and connect with residents. It was windy and chilly, but that didn't stop them from going out to homes with their message. As they gather names and addresses, they hope to use this information to create a neighborhood network.

"I go around knocking door to door, asking everybody in the community, 'can they help us,' and you'd be surprised how many people actually care about their community and come help," said volunteer Wesley Carter.

Carter has lived along Broadway Street for three years. Now, he's asking his neighbors what the coalition and city officials can do to solve the area's recent problems of violence.

Resident Mary Genus appreciates what the coalition is trying to accomplish, but says law enforcement needs to meet them halfway. "They always want to involve the police, but like I said, the police have got to get to know these people, in order for them to cooperate."

Genus feels safe here, and keeps a close eye on her grandchildren to keep them out of trouble. But she knows there are other families in the area who need help keeping track of their kids.

"I know I always want the best for mine, because I came up the hard way."

Group leader Henri Harper says change won't happen overnight, but that rebuilding the southeast side will work with the help of its own residents. In the meantime, the city is taking its own steps to solve the problem. The Chamber of Commerce will join city officials in a tour to Davenport on Wednesday, to meet with law enforcement about anti-crime initiatives already in motion there.

"Everybody's going to have to do their part," said chamber President and CEO Nancy Quellhorst. "It's a community problem, it's a community challenge, and I think we're all going to have to own a piece of it."

Davenport police have been working with landlords to chip away at crime in nuisance rental properties. But whether that would have any application here, remains to be seen.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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