The Importance of a Neighborhood Association

A view up from our street

Last month, close to 20 residents from our neighborhood in Allendale met to begin the process of forming a new neighborhood association. With less than a handful of associations already in existence, we knew that this would be a great time to follow in the footsteps of some great neighborhoods who have already been doing a great job, and to lead the way for others that may follow behind.

Getting this many people out in the middle of a hot summer week was encouraging, and there were several other people who wanted to be there, but were out-of-town or at another meeting. While we have more families to reach, we believe we are off to a good start.

It was a heart-warming experience for me to sit among so many long-time Allendale citizens. Many grew up in that very same neighborhood. When some of us newcomers explained were we lived, we heard comments like, “Oh, you mean so-and-so‘s house.”

And one of those residents remarked, “It’s nice to get back together with people.” It reminded me about the importance of community, and yet how easy it is to fall into isolation.

Others reminisced how this used to be a booming town, but almost died. It reminded me about how we can lament for Allendale, but with hope.

The Importance of Neighborhood Associations

Why are neighborhood associations important? Lottie Lewis (who was the president of the first such association in Allendale — the Sugar Hill Flat Street Association), listed these benefits:

  • To reinforce ownership (“You’ll love your town even more.”)
  • To reduce crime
  • To improve education (“Our children are very important, and all we do affects them.”)
  • To improve the neighborhood, such as with physical improvements
  • To influence politics, so that we can make progress.

A neighborhood association is one way that a community can help themselves. We need families, businesses, government, etc, to all play a role in helping Allendale (as I wrote in Community in 3 Parts). And since We Are Allendale, we are happy to be on this team.

And for the record, I was elected treasurer of our neighborhood association. We are meeting again tonight, hopefully with more participation, as we start to work to set specific goals that we’d like to accomplish.

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