Noble Neighbors celebrate the group's first anniversary
Noble Neighbors celebrated our first year together with storytelling and raising our glasses in shared gratefulness. What began in a living room in January 2014, with a group of people concerned about a crime against one of our neighbors, has grown into a much larger movement of people working together to change the story of our neighborhood.
It delights us that several of our guest speakers have said, “I had no idea so many people would be here,” as they apologized for bringing too few business cards.
Noble Neighbors attend every Cleveland Heights City Council meeting. We’re listening for decisions that affect our area and we’re watching for trends. City council members are also listening to our concerns and looking for ways to address our concerns.
We’ve seen a resurgence of block watch groups and block parties throughout the neighborhood. Several groups now display “block watch” signs in their windows. Neighbors use phone and e-mail lists, and Nextdoor.com to communicate concerns, forward contractor recommendations, and find lost pets.
As we learned that neighborhood beautification is directly linked to crime reduction, we stepped up our efforts. Pick Up for Pride was a quick-and-easy, but surprisingly powerful, event that gathered 50 neighborhood residents to remove litter along Noble Road. With the help of Jan Kious, local gardening expert, perennial plants were installed in three new public flowerbeds—two at the Noble and Monticello intersection, and a third surrounding the city sign at Monticello and Belvoir boulevards.
We launched a website, www.nobleneighbors.com, to help tell the story of our neighborhood. It provides a wonderful platform to showcase our best. People beyond our city are beginning to track our progress, and the website is used to introduce prospective buyers and renters to the neighborhood. Our e-mail list increased seven-fold in 2014.
Following a neighborhoodwide meeting last April, Cleveland Heights City Council members invited us to the CH Police Academy to voice our concerns. The city continues to respond. We were especially pleased when the public works department heard our pleas about the condition of Noble Road, and worked to find funding for repairs. In early January, we learned that our neighborhood’s main street will be repaved in 2015–16.
Cleveland Heights officials and officers have helped us champion our cause. Police Chief Jeffrey Robinson relocated a monthly Meet Your Police to the police academy, and has sent officers to speak with us at our meetings. We learned how to spot certain crimes, and formed a partnership between residents and police to report suspicious behavior.
Our partnerships with several city departments are proving fruitful. Working with the city’s law office, we were able to assist in closing a nuisance business by being available to testify about chronic public safety threats. Rick Wagner of the housing office has encouraged us to report housing violations and his staff has moved quickly to address each concern. The relocation office designed a new brochure to highlight the Noble neighborhood in the city’s relocation packet. Community relations staff has been tremendously supportive with information, printing, and serving as liaisons between the city and Noble Neighbors.
Our fall event, Make Noise for Noble Neighborhood, brought out kids of all ages to join Adam Kukuk and his percussion instruments for a rhythmic, joyful parade around the Noble Elementary School block. Nearby neighbors waved and cheered from their front porches.
By far the most amazing change in the neighborhood is a growing sense of hope. Where neighbors once felt isolated, we now have a feeling of community. Where the expectation was for continued decline, we are sowing the seeds for growth, and we see that resources are being directed our way. It is a good time to live in the Noble neighborhood. Join us!
Brenda H. May
Brenda H May is one of leaders of Noble Neighbors. Check out the group's story at NobleNeighbors.com.