Nelle’s Vision

If there is one thing I reiterate in many of my conversations it is that Columbia Heights is a city full of potential. When one becomes familiar with Heights, it is quickly apparent that it is a unique city. In three and a half square miles and 20,000 residents, Heights is not quite a major city nor is it a rural suburb. Considered a first-ring suburb, Heights carries this unique quality in the air where it feels like a city, yet at the same time, a small town.

I grew up in Saint Paul, our capitol city of over 300,000 residents and full of diversity. When my husband Garrett and I first got married, we rented a duplex in Minneapolis, an even larger city. A year after we had our daughter Juliette, we bought our first house in Columbia Heights and it didn’t take long for us to realize that this was our home and we were part of this community.

Ultimately being elected to City Council is not about the effect I have as an individual. First, it is about being a representative of the city at-large, spending time with residents, getting to understand their needs and wants. Second, it is about taking time in the council chambers to think, “Is this what our community wants?” Lastly, through it all, it is about working together as a team with fellow councilpersons in order to keep the best interest of the City of Columbia Heights at the forefront of the agenda.

Part of my drive to run for City Council is fueled by certain ideas and goals I have for Columbia Heights, goals that continue to better Columbia Heights, and keep our city relevant. Some of my goals and ideas include:

Our Parks

Columbia Heights is a city with 15 wonderful parks placed inside just 3.5 square miles.  I believe we have an opportunity to utilize our parks in many different ways. These parks are great community spaces and there is immense potential to make our parks gems within our community.

Community-Building

One unbeatable characteristic of Columbia Heights is the small-town feeling despite the number of residents. We have an opportunity to nurture that feeling, to encourage residents of Heights to come together face-to-face.  Our city is full of diversity in many demographics – age, race, religion, family size, ethnicity, income, education, etc.

I truly think one of the most important things we can do to build community is to encourage all residents to be involved in our local political process. The best way to build community is to be involved in the community.

Safer Pedestrian Spaces

One of the more glaring issues in Columbia Heights is the lack of consistency in pedestrian spaces. I promise to be an advocate for a safer, pedestrian-friendly spaces in a budget-friendly way. Whether it be improving sidewalks, creating sidewalks, repainting pedestrian paths and crossings, adding speed bumps on high-traffic streets, or making our uncontrolled intersections safer – pedestrian spaces need to be safer.

Youth Involvement

Like I’ve said before and will continue to reiterate, I believe it is crucial that we are involved in our local political process. A specific demographic is somewhat missed in this – our teenagers. One opportunity I would like to enact with my fellow councilpersons is a “Junior City Council.”

Modeled similarly to the concept of a mock trial / debate, Junior City Council would give opportunity to teenagers within our community to understand what a council member is responsible for and how the intricacies of local government work. What I envision is an opportunity for youth to volunteer / intern as Junior Councilmembers, where they can act in a live capacity on local issues, offering their solutions for issues, and getting to see what our actual City Council decides to do.

I could go on and on about the many opportunities I see in Columbia Heights. In these coming months until the election I will be all over Heights, likely knocking at your door one day. I am excited to talk with my neighbors in the city and hear what your ideas and concerns are for Columbia Heights. Don’t want to wait for me to knock on your door? I’m always up to meet for coffee or a beer. Email me at nellebingforcouncil@gmail.com.

 

 


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