Starting a Neighborhood Improvement Association

What is a Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA)?

A Neighborhood Improvement Association is dedicated to providing neighborhood input to City officials regarding development, crime prevention, street conditions, lighting, preservation, and revitalization. NIAs encourage neighborhood participation by working to maintain the value, beauty, safety, and diversity of their neighborhoods. The overall goal of an NIA is to form positive relationships with neighbors and local organizations to beautify, safeguard, and create a vibrant neighborhood community. The association also exists to provide information and assistance to its residents on matters of general interest, especially with regards to safety.

How We Assist Topeka Neighborhood Improvement Associations

Neighborhood Improvement Associations are provided with a small amount of monetary support and some technical assistance from department staff in an effort to develop neighborhood leadership and engage and empower residents through education and neighborhood initiative opportunities.

How to Make an NIA

To establish a Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), the following threshold criteria MUST be met (staff are available to assist you in making these determinations):

  • In a defined area where 51% of the residents are low to moderate income.
  • The neighborhood must be primarily a residential area

If the proposed organization meets the above criteria the following process must be followed:

  • Persons interested in forming an NIA shall set a time and place for an organization meeting and notify all residents of this meeting, either by mail or by hand-delivered flier.
  • At the organization meeting, boundaries for the NIA shall be determined, officers shall be elected, and a date, time and place for regular future meetings shall be set.
  • At the organization meeting, a petition shall be signed by at least 25 residents, property owners, businesses and persons having a definable interest in the area requesting certification.
  • A letter requesting certification and the signed petition shall be submitted to the city manager for approval.
  • The association shall meet during the month of January to elect a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.
  • A quorum for the transaction of business shall be those members present.

To further assist your organization, we do offer sample petitions, sample bylaws and a sample agenda.

Additionally, the NIA should:

  • Find a meeting location and determine meeting frequency
  • Prepare objectives and goals for the NIA
  • Formulate a list of strategies to solicit possible donors to financially support the NIA and its activities for the betterment of the neighborhood
  • Utilize social media and/or email trees to communicate on a regular basis

Once your NIA is established and wants to extend its boundaries, each resident of the area to be included in the expansion shall be notified of the proposed expansion and given the opportunity at the NIA meeting to express their approval or disapproval.