Neighbors Organizing to Help Each Other
As a city leader, Lisa Bush knows that informed neighbors help her better understand the issues that are important to residents. Bush, an alderwoman in Leland, and also the city’s Vice Mayor, is working with Delta Health Alliance to build an active neighborhood association in her ward. “Building a stronger, more organized conduit for information results in stronger neighborhoods,” Bush said, “And that is good for our city.”
Begun in the spring in Bush’s Leland ward, the Deer Creek neighborhood association started with a small group of residents interested in improving their community and in having their voices heard at City Hall. “They are such a passionate group,” said Delta Health Alliance project director Margaret Cotton of the roughly 15 residents who helped form the neighborhood association. “We want to build the capacity of residents to help come up with solutions to their problems and understand that they are so much stronger working together than individually,” said Cotton. “The goal is to produce safer neighborhoods where children and their parents feel secure and have a say in those things that affect their community.”
Professional organizers meet regularly with residents to help the neighborhood association grow and work on issues such as after-school programs and recreation for young people, beautification projects and efforts to deal with littering and illegal garbage dumping, information sharing and better communication within the neighborhood and with city leaders, and better enforcement of city ordinances that impact neighborhoods.
As Cotton remarked, “Residents need to feel like they can be a part of an existing association or start their own organization. We are here to help them in every way possible.” Plans for the Deer Creek area are to form associations in Hollandale and Arcola a well, said Cotton.