Neighborhood Groups Strengthen Community

Neighborhood Alliances focus on relationships, not regulation.

In his 2017 State of the City address, Mayor Brooks Fetters shared good news for Huntington residents. The Mayor’s Office has joined other city and community leaders to help organize new neighborhood alliances. The citizen groups will seek to strengthen relationships between neighbors and enhance communication among neighborhood and city leaders.

“This is not about regulation or code enforcement,” said Mayor Fetters, “It’s about the good that results from neighbors getting to know neighbors.”

Mayor Fetters shared that he doesn’t mind getting a call from a neighbor in need, and that he in turn relies on his neighbors at times.

“I know who to call when I need to borrow a certain piece of lawn equipment, and my neighbors know that they can count on me for help as well. I like that. The camaraderie that results from neighbors helping neighbors adds a richness to everyday life,” said Mayor Fetters.

Alliances In Action

Five neighborhood alliances have already formed, and are implementing projects and social events for the benefit of resident life. Following is a list of existing alliances and a sample of their progress:

  • Northway Place – The alliance has organized a block party and Christmas Light Contest.
  • Drovertown – Alliance leaders host a Fall 5 K, Christmas Movie Nite and summer block party
  • Hawley Heights – Pillars at the entrance to the neighborhood are being reconstructed.
  • Old Plat – A historical home was rehabilitated with the help of Huntington ALERT
  • Carlisle Crossing – A Little Free Library was erected for use by residents and visitors.

Leaders with the alliances also attend group meetings hosted by the Mayor’s Office to discuss wider promotion and implementation of city initiatives. Topics of interest for 2017 include the city-wide garage sale, the 50/50 sidewalk replacement program, Farmer’s Market, and the Yard of the Month recognition.  A representative from the Historic Review Board is also present at the meetings.

Little Free LibraryLittle Free Libraries

Huntington residents may have noticed a new series of mini libraries popping-up locations around town. They’re called Little Free Libraries and the neighborhood alliances are playing a big role in the implementation of this free service.

Passers-by are encouraged to take a book or leave a book at their discretion. Little Free Libraries encourage community involvement while fostering a love of reading. Volunteers build and maintain the libraries for a variety of reasons. For Sara Wilcox, coordinator of Huntington’s Little Free Library program, the desire to give back to the community resulted from the loss of her mother.

“Mom was an avid reader and a lover of books. We were looking for a way to honor her,” said Wilcox, “I saw Little Free Libraries while on vacation in Wisconsin, and I knew we had found a beautiful way to honor her legacy back at home.”

Wilcox’s nephew built the first Little Free Library, which is now located in the Carlisle Crossing neighborhood. A second Little Free Library was erected outside the Purviance House Bed & Breakfast in Drovertown and a third in the Hawley Heights neighborhood. The initiative continues to gain momentum and Wilcox has secured a Pathfinder Grant.

“We are grateful to our grantor and to all who donate books, money, and time to the Little Free Library program,” said Wilcox, “A fourth library is already in the works and we look forward to working with the neighborhood alliances on future projects.”

Residents wanting more information on Huntington’s Little Free Libraries should contact the Mayor’s Office or their neighborhood alliance leaders.

Getting Involved

Residents who would like to start a neighborhood alliance or get involved with an existing one may contact the Mayor’s Office for guidance. The city currently lists five neighborhood alliances and two pending alliances as of the last leadership meeting. Mayor Fetters reports interest from three additional neighborhoods at the time of this publication.

“Our goal is to have ten neighborhood alliances up and running by the end of the year,” said Mayor Fetters, “Interest in this program continues to grow and I look forward to seeing the things that are accomplished when neighbors get to know neighbors.”

 


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