Section I: Guidelines
Modified on: Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 8:26 PM
Certain strategies have been identified as effective in creating or sustaining block clubs. While one size does not fit all, the ideas included may work for your block.
- Take Inventory: Do you have an organized effective block club that only needs to set its calendar for the next year? If so, you may want to just browse the list for new ideas. Is yours one of the blocks without any block club at all? Start with #2. Are you somewhere in between? Check the list for ideas on how to make your block club more effective.
- Get a Block Captain: One or two people need to be identified as block captain(s) to organize/operate the block club. Captains keep information flowing from the block to the UDCA board and back to the block. Block captains meetings, usually scheduled on a Saturday morning in alternate months , are an integral part of that information exchange.*
- Meet the Neighbors: Ideally, the neighbors on the block will all get to know one another, but the captain should make a point of knowing each family. Many block captains have found that talking to people as they work in the yard is an easy way to start the process. Newcomers should be presented with the “Welcome Kit”available through the UDCA.*
- Develop the Contact System(s): A list of residents on the block with names, phone numbers, email addresses, and street address for each household is crucial. Distributed to each household on the block, it makes it easier to be neighborly, checking to see if someone needs assistance, alerting nearby neighbors to a vacation schedule, and so forth. When the list is developed on a Neighborhood Watch format, the block is eligible for additional programs which may operate through Police Community Relations.* Emails lists allow for quick communication without the need to print and deliver hard copies of information. Email addresses can also be conveyed to UDCA for neighborhood news , and to Radio Patrol for security alerts.
- Organize the block club and establish / maintain activities: If there has been no operating block club and you would like some guidance, contact one of the block captains advisors listed in the resource guild for assistance. If you are interested in a very formal and structured approach, use the organizing guide from the City’s Community Access Center (formerly Neighborhood City Hall).* In addition to the “business” of operating a block club and addressing concerns of the block, social events are an important part of a block club’s function. Popular activities in our neighborhood have included ice cream socials, block parties, progressive dinners, Christmas caroling, and even beautification/ clean-up projects. In 2011, the UDCA garden club began recognizing front yard gardens, and may have a best block award by 2012.
- Address block needs: Some problems can be effectively addressed by the block as a whole. Several blocks have arranged sidewalk snow removal for the entire block.* Others have made arrangements to assist disabled neighbors, such as rolling Courvilles (trash bins) for neighbors who cannot manage. For needed city services, catch basin cleaning, street light repair, tree cutting, etc., it sometimes helps to get the entire block addressing the issue.
- Support the University District Community Association: Remind and encourage block club members to do the following:
ñ Pay Annual Dues – As of 2011, dues are $60/per year, with a $10 discount if paid before January 1. In addition to typical functions of a community association, the UDCA arranges street plowing in the winter if a sufficient number of residents pay dues. The newsletter is mailed quarterly, and a website and email communications are maintained.
ñ Commit to (H)our Power – When an interim committee restructured the subscriber patrol in 2008, their neighborhood assessment survey indicated that if every household in the neighborhood contributed the equivalent of an hour a week to strengthen our community, all significant issues would be manageable.
ñ Participate in spring clean-up, UDCA general membership meetings, UDP semi-annual meetings, University Commons parade, gardening contests, UDCA Home and Garden Tour, UDCA dinner dance, and more…
ñ Keep note of good neighbors to be nominated for awards.
- Subscribe to University District Patrol – This member-supported organization provides security patrol coverage to the neighborhood, including vacation watch, escort service, and response to burglar alarms. Crime rates in the University District are lower than those in nearby un-patrolled neighborhoods.
- Join Radio Patrol – University District Radio Patrol is the other patrol in UDCA. All volunteers, these neighbors patrol the neighborhood, work with the police department, and are the ones who address the problem of vacant homes. Radio Patrol operates the email security alert for the neighborhood, and is the link to the 12th Precinct neighborhoods network.