RUBONIA -- Cathey Mathis, like many Rubonia residents, wants Manatee County to actually do something for the neighborhood.
The 57-year-old said the county has never really done anything for Rubonia.
"Do something," Mathis said at a Rubonia community meeting Monday evening. "Show that we've been heard. Do the work. We can talk all year, 10 years from now."
Mathis was one of about 30 people who attended Monday's meeting at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. Wade Trim consultants led the meeting as they begin to develop a neighborhood action plan, which could determine whether Rubonia meets the state definition of a blighted area.
After breaking into five focus groups, Rubonia residents shared what they would like to see done in the neighbor
hood off U.S. 41 between Palmetto and Interstate 275.
Poor drainage, the closed Rubonia Community Center, lack of sidewalks and traffic calming measures were among resident's priorities.
"We have very bad drainage," Rubonia resident Charles Miller Sr. said. "I would say drainage is very important."
Monday's neighborhood meeting was part of the development of the neighborhood action plan, which is a way for Rubonia to become eligible for federal Community Development Block Grant funding. Rubonia became ineligible for the federal funds after not enough Rubonia residents responded to the 2010 census, and there was an increase in mobile home park development around the Rubonia area.
In developing the plan, a special Rubonia census will be conducted as well as a neighborhood evaluation on areas such as building conditions, environmental conditions, utilities and infrastructure and identifying neighborhood assets. For Rubonia to be eligible for CDBG funds, at least 51 percent of the population has to be low to moderate income.
"It's going to be important that we get a good response on that," Jason Smith, with Wade Trim, said of the special Rubonia census. "We are going to be aggressive with this. I think we have a good approach."
Some attendees at Monday's meeting voiced frustration that the county had a community meeting in July yet nothing was really done.
Al Thomas, who is the minister at the Rubonia Church of Christ, said the county is trying to move forward yet they haven't completed what was previously promised.
"Talk is cheap and I'm tired," Thomas said. "There are a lot of promises but promises are not being fulfilled. We talked about a lot of things last time we were here but nothing has been fulfilled. ...I'm just trying to make Rubonia a better place to live."
Commissioner Larry Bustle, who represents Rubonia, attended Monday's meeting.
"We are here for a reason and that's to help Rubonia," Bustle told residents.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.