There is a pleasing increase in neighborhood associations and communication between neighbors and city officials. As a result, each association successfully activated or reactivated has seen positive change in their neighborhoods.
“It takes intention to maintain a welcoming neighborhood. Forming a new association or joining the work of the current association gives you a means to rally toward an intentional vision,” expressed Neighborhood Association Coordinator, Kayla Johnson.
Whether new or renewed, Johnson locates the assets of a neighborhood and sparks conversation by asking residents what they love and enjoy about their neighborhood. The conversation first gives the group a goal to build from its strengths. Neighbors also point out things they want to work on together. As a result, several projects begin to form.
Photo of Euclid Neighborhood Association utilizing their Community Foundation grant to plant trees (Courtesy of Michelle Doyle).
“It’s fascinating the creativity that exists in our neighborhoods. There’s always an interest to ‘clean up’ or ‘tackle the crime’, however, we try to couple reactive responses with proactive activities. Many neighborhoods have focused on rehabbing a park and/or implementing a community garden or public art project, and have actually seen a decrease in blight or crime in those areas,” added Johnson.
Over a year ago when Johnson started her role with the City, there were only 9 active neighborhoods. Today, through Johnson and her team of neighborhood leaders, there are now 16 with more waiting in the wings. Johnson says she is pacing herself to ensure each group is fully empowered with leadership in place before moving on to a new area. She also works with established neighborhoods to collectively problem-solve and make sure each has access to resources needed to implement their vision.
“Active Neighborhood Associations are vital for a community to grow and prosper. While we have made numerous improvements to infrastructure these past three years, it’s our citizens that make Marion a place people want to call home much like Johnson has done. After attending Indiana Wesleyan University, Kayla made a decision to remain in Marion instead of returning to North Carolina. She has done a remarkable job in supporting existing Neighborhood Associations and in creating and revitalizing those that have been dormant. It’s these efforts between local government and community that ensure a strong and vibrant future for Marion.” — Mayor Jess Alumbaugh
To get involved in an association, visit the following the link: cityofmarion.in.gov/neighborhoods.