During our last Board meeting, a member asked why we don't have a blog or some other way of reconnecting with our community on a periodic basis. As many of you know, Carl Feldman has faithfully produced a monthly zine distributed to subscribers on a mailing list and our presence on Facebook has grown to nearly 1,000 members. While these formats are an excellent way to reach out, we could do more to engage our faithful members who are looking for a more personal, conversational style.
So we're bringing back the blog!
There's a lot we hope to share with you over the next few months. You'll hear from our Board and members of the community who share in our desire to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood by becoming informed citizens who take an active role in our community.
Starting in the New Year, we will publish a monthly zine of upcoming events, property round-up, goings-on around town, public meetings info, and crimewatch.
Missed an issue? View the archives.
Many of my good friends have said that 2016 "just needs to be done". The sad reality is that we are a divided nation. The loss of many legendary people and an unspeakable uncertainty shadows over many of us.
Today, I am feeling sentimental. I was reminded of one of our neighborhood meetings that took place nearly two years ago. Noah and I were recently named co-chairs of Neighbors United when the unthinkable happened in our neighborhood: a teacher was murdered in her home. We reached out to the police, elected officials and our neighbors. We came together to make sense of a senseless tragedy.
Unfortunately, it often takes terrible circumstances to bring a community together.
While we were not thinking about planting trees or revitalizing businesses that evening, we were looking towards the future with hope that we could make our neighborhood a better place to live.
Over the next two years, we set into motion an ambitious plan that addressed many of the safety issues concerning our residents and sought to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood. As I look back at what we hoped to accomplish, I truly believe that we have made significant progress:
1) We successfully launched the LCA Bike Ambassadors. Their presence in the community not only is a reassurance of our commitment to public safety, it is a key force in pushing neighborhood revitalization. Seven days a week, they serve as the eyes and ears on the streets. They take notes and communicate about opportunities we have to improve.
This morning, I read an article about community policing and the City's southwest: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/community-policing-to-be-tested-in-lancaster-s-southwest-neighborhood/article_8511bc48-bcc4-11e6-a607-ff043ac0b76e.html
While I believe that we have a good thing in our neighborhood, there is certainly room for improvement.
Over the past two years, we held meetings that introduced neighbors to our sector officers and others who are invested in making our part of the city a safer place. While I will be the first to admit that I forgot my sector officer's name, I value their presence in our neighborhood no less. I look forward to reconnecting with our sector officers and hope that our ongoing efforts will include them.
2) We planted street trees. Our efforts received media attention and the rest of the city watched as we transformed our streetscape. We are literally breathing a little easier as new trees are making our part of the city a greener place.
3) We cleaned up our neighborhood. It started with a handful of neighbors each taking an empty plastic bag with them during their daily walk to pick up litter along the way. Our efforts grew to include formally adopting a block with the purpose of cleaning litter at least four times a year. As more neighbors step forward, we hope that every block in our neighborhood will be adopted by Spring 2017. We are making our part of the city a cleaner place.
4) We hosted two very successful National Night Out block parties. By providing a venue for neighbors to reconnect with each other, the police, first responders, and elected officials, the neighborhood seems a little smaller. Caring people and social services were introduced. People were given an opportunity to celebrate their community.
It is no secret that we are experiencing positive change in our neighborhood thanks to the relationship we have with the City of Lancaster, the Lancaster City Alliance, and our neighborhood business partners.
I look ahead at all that the #BuildingonStrength Master Plan promises. I support the vision for a revitalized gateway to the City through our northeast neighborhood and especially along the New Holland Ave corridor. We have the incredible opportunity to build the kind of place we want for us and future generations. I am glad to be working for the good of our community alongside each of you!
- Andrew Whalen, Co-Chair Neighbors United
Noah Miller and Andrew Whalen sat down with our LEAD SPONSOR The Shelley Snow Realtor Group to discuss ways that we can partner together to increase homeownership and improve the quality of life in our neighborhood.
Shelley recently launched a rewards program for referrals in our neighborhood. She will donate 10% of her commission from the sale of these homes towards Neighbors United's Safer, Greener, Cleaner initiative. To learn more, please contact The Shelley Snow Realtor Group and mention Neighbors United.
Shelley currently offers two homes in our neighborhood that are only one block from Urban Place. She believes that interest in our neighborhood is building momentum, because it is a wonderful place to both live and work.
Everything a Woman Needs from Head to Toe
We welcomed Lancaster City Alliance Bike Ambassadors Jon and Kat to the neighborhood.
National Night Out 2016 was a huge success! Each year, we rely upon many volunteers for their time and sponsors for their donations. Thanks to our neighbors and Turkey Hill, we had more than enough hot dogs, snacks and ice cold Haymakers for everyone -- no one left hungry! Thanks to Christ House, we had games for all ages. Thanks to Tim at 30 West Entertainment and Music for Everyone's Ukulele Uprising, we had musical entertainment all evening. Thanks to our Hometown Heroes, the Lancaster Police and Fire, we had a reason to get together in solidarity and celebrate community.
Our neighbors knocked on doors and were able to bring to the party some amazing donations for door prizes and our raffle. We would like to thank the many local businesses and individuals who donated to our raffle:
Earlier this week, we shared with our online community some great news about the Safer, Greener, Cleaner fundraiser:
Andrew Whalen wanted for you to be the first to know about some great news!
Our announcement generated a lot of buzz and LNP was the first to pick up the story!
To view the LNP article, please visit: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/bike-patrols-coming-to-lancaster-s-northeast-neighborhood/article_6b803452-4871-11e6-bc41-6fb59ad77d0e.html
Neighbors United is a group of involved citizens in the Northeast section of the City of Lancaster, PA. We try to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood by becoming informed citizens who take an active role in our community.
Neighbors United hosts special events throughout the year, including mixers, game nights, town hall meetings, fundraisers and National Night Out.
We are known in the neighborhood for our efforts to bring the LCA Bike Ambassadors to our streets, plant street trees, Adopt a Block litter program, sponsor Little Free Libraries and community gardens, and being overall good neighbors.
Safer | Greener | Cleaner
In 2014, we embarked on a campaign to make our corner of the city a safer, greener and cleaner place. Through a partnership with the Lancaster City Alliance, we were able to bring together the city's best resources for the benefit of our neighborhood. Many shareholders invested their time, energy and resources to help bring about positive change. Through these efforts, the quality of life in our neighborhood and the City of Lancaster continues to improve.
What will a safer neighborhood look like? Friendly neighborhood Block Captains and Bike Ambassadors will engage the neighborhood. The Lancaster City Alliance’s Bike Ambassadors enhance the quality of life for people who live, work and visit the City. They are trained to serve as community ambassadors, aiding people with directions, and routinely identify nuisance issues such as excessive trash, graffiti and city maintenance issues. They act as additional eyes and ears in the community, providing an enhanced sense of security, often providing support to first responders.
How are we making Lancaster a greener place? Last fall, with assistance from nearly 50 volunteers, numerous community organizations and businesses, we planted 27 beautiful street trees. We continue to support efforts to reduce storm water runoff and beautify our city with plans to plant 165 trees along our city streets.
What are the benefits of cleaner streets? Neighbors may adopt a block by picking up litter in their neighborhood. Businesses may sponsor locations for trash receptacles.
Neighbors United is already a shining example of what neighbors can and should do. Just as our homes do not stop at our front door, our city does not stop at the downtown. Other city organizations have formed in the last year specifically following in our footsteps, because they recognize how effective a neighborhood can be when neighbors work together.
Together, we are involved in making our city a safer, greener and cleaner place. We are making significant progress and will officially launch the Bike Ambassador program on August 2, 2016 during our National Night Out celebration! We thank the many businesses in the Northeast that have stepped up to provide funds. We thank our community partners, who have also raised significant funds through spaghetti dinners, yard sales and pop-up coffee shops.
We are headed in the right direction and are empowered to advocate for a better quality of life for you. We recently reached $55,000 of our $65,000 fundraising goal! Can you help us to the finish line?
Neighbors United is grateful for our friends at LNP Volunteer Corps. Last fall, we were blessed as many volunteers helped plant beautiful street trees in our neighborhood. This spring, we received the gift of repurposed newspaper boxes to be used as Little Free Libraries.
Already, we've installed Little Free Libraries at two locations in the Northeast: the 200 block of East New Street and the 500 block of North Shippen Street. Soon, we will add three more boxes on East Clay, East Frederick and North Plum streets. Let's get reading Lancaster!