Sheena Pasko, President of the Ivywild Improvement Society, can hardly contain her enthusiasm about CONO, the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, the nonprofit in Colorado Springs that assists neighborhoods and HOA’s on virtually every subject imaginable. “Without CONO, our neighborhood would never have developed the way it did. They have the tools, the experience, and the programs to help communities become the best that they can be.”
Sheena explains that four years ago she went to her first Ivywild Improvement Society meeting. She had not even known that the society existed, and she had lived in the community for eight years! She knew she wanted to become involved in neighborhood development, but had no idea how to go about it! Then she met Dave Munger, Jan Doran, and Liz Rockwell, of CONO. She says they gave her the tools she needed and ”shortened the learning curve” immensely. Within a short time, the society was revitalized, and thanks to CONO’s help, a number of initiatives had begun.
Their first projects were neighborhood cleanups and fire mitigation. Sheena personally distributed brochures and was in charge of the meeting about this project. Friends predicted that she would have less than 30 people attend, but in fact, 96 citizens showed up!
Sheena has found that business leaders and residents alike are deeply interested in their mutual neighborhood, which goes from the west side of Nevada to the East side of 8th Street, and from Cheyenne Road to Motor City. There are about 950 residents in Ivywild, which includes such landmarks as the Blue Star Restaurant, Spencer’s Nursery, and the Ivywild School. Carl Tanner, who manages Dominoes Pizza on 8th St, has donated pizzas for all the neighborhood cleanups, and local celebrities like Jimmy Dixon and Joe Uveges have provided music for neighborhood picnics and plant exchanges through the “mobile music project,” at which power is generated through people riding bikes!
CONO has helped Sheena learn about how to get things done in the city of Colorado Springs, and she notes that everyone at the city has been “fabulous” to work with! “We are all in this together,” she says. “Great community development begins with developing great relationships.”
Sheena bubbles with excitement as she remarks that “working in my neighborhood has been the most positive experience in my life. There is no way, ever, that I could have accomplished what I did without CONO!”