The hum of machinery, the clattering of ladders, and the buzz of volunteers made their way into East Decatur (AL) once again for the fifth annual NeighborWorks Week. For the last five years, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama has joined community leaders and volunteers to help revitalize an aging community and bring together neighbors through street makeovers.
Prep work began on Thursday, May 30th with the mowing of lawns of participating homeowners. Friday, May 31st played host to extensive pressure washing and debris removal. The sun just high enough to create long shadows from the aging oaks on Enolam Boulevard, the “real work” began at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 3rd as volunteers from the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store arrived to take on the complete repainting of a home.
Taking on an entire street for intense hands-on revitalization is now an expectation of staff and volunteers who have the event marked on their calendars each year. Long-time partners like Decatur Fire & Rescue commit their time and energy to giving back to the communities they protect. And at times DFR laid down their shovels and headed out on a call. Emergencies did not take a break during NeighborWorks Week and neither did Decatur’s first responders.
After four days of painting, trimming, and mulching, volunteers and supporters convened at the Partnerships Central Office in Decatur to celebrate community and bring neighbors together. Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling addressed those in attendance, commending the efforts of residents and community leaders in supporting their community and building relationships with one another.
One resident who not only benefited from the project but also lent a hand in his neighbor’s yard. He recapped his experience by saying, “I finally met my neighbors. We talked and now I have invited their kids to our Vacation Bible School.” New friendships were forged, freshening the neighborhood from the inside out.
A total of 96 volunteers contributed nearly $23,000 worth of labor during the four days of neighborhood revitalization. The relationships that were formed, and the connections made during the week, are priceless impacts with lasting effects on the strength of the community.
Neighbors helping neighbors. Building Strong Communities. Together.
Southeast Decatur residents may soon benefit from the continuing efforts of The Partnership’s 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover with plans for a new pocket park on Enolam Boulevard.
During the 2017 NeighborWorks Week street makeover event, residents of Enolam Boulevard and neighboring streets expressed interest in converting a vacant corner lot into a small park. The Partnership cleaned up the lot for the staging area of the NeighborWorks Week event last June and its potential was realized as a future location for some type of neighborhood green space.
Coordinated through Partnership Community Engagement Specialist Amber Jones, contact was made with the City of Decatur. Officials were asked about the possibility of converting the lot owned by the city into a pocket park for residents. “A group of the residents came to me with the suggestion to build the pocket park,” Councilwoman Kristi Hill.
To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world. -SE Decatur resident Alonzo Villarreal
Each June NeighborWorks American and its local organizations mobilize volunteers, neighbors, friends, and national and local leaders in a weeklong celebration of neighborhood change and awareness that helps strengthen communities and celebrate our collective impact. This year, NeighborWorks Week takes place from Saturday, June 2nd through Saturday, June 9th.
NeighborWorks Week 2018 Highlights SE Decatur on Tenth Avenue
Beginning Monday, June 4th, our annual NeighborWorks Week event will kick off in the East Decatur community on the 1900-2000 block of 10th Avenue SE. Each day, volunteers and staff will descend on the work area with one goal in mind: leave 10th Street SE better than they found it. As the population of the area ages and limited incomes affect homeowners’ abilities to maintain their yards, needs grow for basic landscaping.
Teams of volunteers will donate their time, sweat, and dollars to help trim trees and shrubs, mow lawns, paint homes, and perform minor repairs such as updating porch railings and mend soffits.
Resident Alonzo Villarreal said during NeighborWorks 2017, “To have someone come and help you…it’s unexpected. If everyone could expect this, it’d be a different world.”
This year marks the 5th year that The Partnership has focused its NeighborWorks Week efforts in the SE Decatur area through block and street makeovers. And during the celebration event at the end of NeighborWorks Week, participating residents from the previous years’ events will be recognized with awards given for those who have continued to maintain their yards.
The event celebration for volunteers, partners, residents, and staff will take place on Friday, June 8th at 11 a.m. at the corner of 19th Avenue SE and 10th Street SE, on the event staging area lot.
Fort Payne in Northeast Alabama is the site of The Partnership’s newest affordable housing development in the state. The Hixon Pond project will be the first Partnership development in DeKalb County, placing The Partnership’s affordable housing footprint in 21 counties in the state.
Construction of the project is making great progress toward the projected completion date of late fall 2018. As of the end of May, all major systems had been installed with the expectation of interior projects to begin around the middle of June.
The Village at Hixon Pond is a 56-unit multi-family complex will feature 40 2-Bedroom units and 16 3-Bedroom Units, with 2 units for the sensory impaired and 3 handicapped units. Other amenities include: a community building, exterior security, covered porches, outside storage, a gazebo, a covered picnic pavilion, an outdoor fitness area, a computer center and a covered bus stop shelter.
The word ‘champion’ conjures up different images in the minds of people when tasked with reflecting on what a champion is. Merriam-Webster defines a ‘champion’ as one that does battle for another’s rights or honor. For the communities of Decatur and Hartselle in Morgan County, Alabama, champion means that much and more. During the week of March 26-30, The Partnership’s Meals on Wheels & More program invited Community Champions to join volunteers on delivery routes to meet the customers and engage in conversation with those who receive the daily meals.
Hartselle Mayor Randy Garrison took time out of his busy schedule to join volunteer Alisha Ricketts on her meal route. Mayor Garrison said of his experience, “I truly enjoyed the time I spent last week with (Alisha). She really goes above and beyond with her folks, they all seemed to look forward to seeing her and many of them were happy to talk with us.”
The Community Champions Week is part of Meals on Wheels America‘s March for Meals. During this time, local programs are encouraged to invite local, state and federal officials, local celebrities and other prominent community figures to deliver meals, speak out for seniors and raise awareness for the power of Meals on Wheels. Community Champions week within March for Meals provides local Meals on Wheels programs a wonderful opportunity to engage powerful figures in the community, garner media attention and helps raise public awareness for the nutritional and social needs of seniors.