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Push to grow local neighborhood associations

Push to grow local neighborhood associations

SAN ANTONIO - There's a push going on right now to get more people involved in making neighborhoods better places.

A clean playground and a free library are just some of the little touches that make the Terrell Heights neighborhood a home.

"It's completely invaluable," Terrell Heights Neighborhood Association president Jenny Heymann describes the beautification efforts.

She also makes sure any problems like crime or traffic are on the city's radar.

"The city can only fix what they know is wrong. If they don't know about it, they're not able to fix it," Heymann says.

Neighborhoods groups are still the most effective way to get the attention of local government.

"When you have an organization, that just magnifies your voice," former Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson says.

He now runs the Bowen Center for Neighborhood Advocacy. The group will soon gather city leaders to give advice on how to take your neighborhood to the next level.

News 4 reporter Emily Baucum will moderate the discussion. It will take place Saturday. June 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church north of downtown.

Adkisson says the topics include "how to start, how to continue a neighborhood association. How to keep it exciting. How to involve people."

There are more than 200 neighborhood associations in San Antonio. Only a handful are run by people under the age of 40. Adkisson says most active members are over 60.

"What I'm looking for is a whole bevy, a whole flock of millennials," he says.

New members can start small by organizing events or being a block captain.

"[Neighbors] can contact the block captain and say hey, why is they alley closed, what's going on, why aren't they picking up my trash?" Heymann says.

She calls her association a united voice in pursuit of a safer neighborhood.

"I love the satisfaction of knowing I'm making this neighborhood a greater place to live in," Heymann says.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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