Improve your block with programs for Charlotte neighborhoods

The City of Charlotte and other local organizations are offering neighborhoods opportunities to improve neighborhood tree canopies and to boost traditional neighborhood newsletters by using digital tools such as Twitter, texting and other web-based formats.

Learn new digital skills at neighborhood communications workshop

Charlotte community leaders and homeowners associations wanting to send neighborhood updates to residents' inboxes and smartphones along with their mailboxes can learn how at the upcoming digital communications workshop led by Queens University and the city.

The city's Neighborhood and Business Services department and Queens University's Knight School of Communication held the same workshop in September, teaching 20 residents from 11 neighborhoods how to keep neighbors engaged using with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, text messages, blogs and neighborhood websites. Participants were also introduced to web-based neighborhood tools like NextDoor, a private social network for neighborhoods; Everbridge, a tool for mass communication during emergencies and everyday life; PublicStuff, an app to increase communication between city governments and residents; and modern mapping tools like Google Maps.

Participants will learn similar lessons at the next workshop. It starts at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 8 at the Queens University Knight-Crane Convergence Laboratory (1900 Selwyn Ave., Dana Building, Room 110).

If you’re interested, sign up by  completing this form. There are 24 openings for residents from Charlotte neighborhoods.

The workshop is part of Digital Charlotte, a Knight School of Communication initiative to increase digital and media literacy in neighborhoods across Charlotte.

Plant trees with NeighborWoods program

Charlotte neighborhoods wanting to improve their three canopy can apply for free trees, tools to plant the trees and lessons on proper planting and care from TreesCharlotte, a local private-public partnership formed in 2012 to increase the Charlotte tree canopy to 50 percent by 2050. The partnership's NeighborWoods program asks volunteers to help reach that goal by planting trees on their own property and neighborhood common grounds.

Neighborhoods with approved applications will plant trees in the fall with help from a team of local arborists and, for trees being planted near city streets, from the the City of Charlotte.

In addition to helping the city's goal, planting trees can improve neighborhoods. Trees can help raise property values, cool sidewalks, shade streets and buffer noise. A recent study by the USDA Forest Service suggests that tall-canopied trees along public streets are connected to crime reduction.

Interested neighborhoods must submit a letter of intent to by April 1 and attend a pre-application workshop at Old City Hall, 600 E.Trade St. Scheduled workshops:

  • Jan. 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 10, noon-1 p.m.
  • Feb. 13, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • March 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Application instructions can be found here http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/nbs/communityengagement/Pages/NeighborWoods.aspx. Additional pre-application workshops can be requested.