What makes a great neighborhood? I think a great neighborhood is a combination of great people that care about their neighbors and the quality of life that they are creating for their families. Just like we "grow" our children by the love and care we give them, we also can "grow" a great neighborhood to live in by giving it the attention it needs to thrive. Great neighborhoods don’t just happen. It takes a united group to make a neighborhood special. Often a neighborhood is pulled together by one leader who energizes neighbors into action.
Much research over the years has supported the need for neighbors "to take care of" their community. When neighborhoods get run down, the decline makes them vulnerable to more crime and unsafe conditions for those who live there.
When neighborhoods fall into a state of disrepair, litter and vandalism both increase, because it seems not to matter. Litter and vandalism are not just beautification issues. They are a serious warning that a neighborhood needs attention.
An essential element of a vibrant and attractive community is having thriving neighborhoods that are clean and inviting. Thankfully, we have a number of neighborhoods in our county that are doing their part to be the best that they can be. We try to support these neighborhoods and their forward-thinking leaders by providing a couple of programs to make their efforts even more successful. These Keep Liberty Beautiful programs acknowledge the efforts of these neighborhoods. These programs are in place to provide supplies, resources, and recognition for their neighborhood projects.
The NEAT Neighborhoods Program is a recognition program to support the effort that a great neighborhood makes. What is a NEAT Neighborhood?
N They never take the appearance of their neighborhood for granted.
E They encourage their homeowners to take pride in their own yards, the roads, and the entryways to their community.
A They always keep their yards and streets clean.
T They tell everyone they care about where they live by making it look beautiful.
The NEAT Neighborhoods program offers recognition of the neighborhood’s improvement projects and cleanup efforts each quarter. We provide an entry sign for each neighborhood that has a cleanup or improvement project to display at their community entrance. It is a small gesture but one that, I hope, encourages all who enter each neighborhood to help in keeping it clean and attractive. We can also help by loaning supplies and equipment and, at times, resources for special community improvement projects. So, join in on some neat activities where you live or start an improvement effort in your neighborhood yourself. Every neighborhood needs that one person who will step up and encourage others to take ownership of their community.
Some of our current NEAT Neighborhoods have also started Yard of the Quarter Recognitions in their neighborhoods to encourage neighbors to keep their yards attractive by having a friendly competition each quarter.
If you think your neighborhood would benefit from an effort like this, Keep Liberty Beautiful can provide your neighborhood a sign to use each quarter. If you are not a current NEAT Neighborhood, contact us if you are interested.
Our goal is to have as many neighborhoods as possible participate in community improvement efforts.
To learn more about becoming a NEAT Neighborhood and other keep Liberty Beautiful programs, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also be sure to follow Keep Liberty Beautiful on Facebook and through our website www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.
Swida is executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.