Creating a sense of community
In March, I participated in a panel discussion, hosted by FutureHeights, about neighborhood organizing. It was an upbeat evening that highlighted the success of neighborhood groups in the Cain Park and Grant Deming's Forest Hill areas. These two parts of the city are different, and each has its own unique strengths and attributes, but both associations share a love for their neighborhoods and a positive enthusiasm for making them better.
The Cain Park Neighborhood Association (CPNA) meets once a month at City Hall. The neighbors stay in touch throughout the month via their CPNA Facebook page and Nextdoor.com. Members have collaborated with the city to allow leashed dogs in Cain Park, give and get advice about the new Sprinkler Park in Cain Park and plan block parties. The CPNA is currently creating a website to market the Cain Park residential neighborhood to prospective residents.
The Grant Deming’s Forest Hill (GDFH) District neighbors also use Nextdoor.com to communicate neighborhood happenings and plan events. They have collaborated with the city to have the Grant Deming's Forest Hill District of Coventry Village listed in the National Register of Historic Places, spray painted a “Lake Erie Starts Here” stencil on sewer grates in the district, and hosted a community-wide garage sale on June 22. The GDFH neighbors have an active website to market their neighborhood to prospective residents, www.grantdemingneighborhood.org.
These street associations are making a difference. Does your street or neighborhood have an active association? If you would like to become involved and help improve your neighborhood, the city would like to work with you. For information about creating a street association, please contact the Community Relations Department at 216-291-2323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new option to collaborate with the city and our police department is the neighborhood watch program. Cleveland Heights is a safe city because we have an excellent police department. Nevertheless, throughout the country there has been an increase in crime because of the recession and housing crisis. Neighborhoods are safer with an alert and engaged neighborhood watch program. If you are interested in more information about creating a Neighborhood Watch Program for your street, contact the Cleveland Heights Police Department’s Community Response Team at 216-291-4225 or email@example.com.
Whether your neighborhood wants to establish a street association to strengthen your street’s sense of community, or start a neighborhood watch program to increase safety, now is the time to become involved.
Jason Stein is a member of Cleveland Heights City Council, a Heights High graduate and a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident. He can be reached at 440-253-9613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.