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Survey Guides Association Programs; April 2020 Southwood Park News Now Available

April 20, 2020

The April 2020 Southwood Park News arrived in residents mailboxes last week.  You can read it online here.  It’s six pages of useful information looking forward to this year’s activities and tasks.  Here is the link:  SPN.04.20

Here is the cover story:

Survey Guides Association Programs

A survey was included in the last (December 2019) issue of the Southwood Park News, and we appreciate all the input.  The Board used this  information to shape our activities for the better.

What did you have to say about three related questions?
How many of your neighbors do you know? 6 know everyone; 26 know most of them; 9 know half, and 27 know some.
How strong is our “sense of community”? 9 said extremely strong; 35 very strong; 22 somewhat strong.
How safe do you feel in the neighborhood? 10 said extremely safe;  46 very safe; 8 somewhat safe.

Only single responses of “knows none”, “not strong”, and “not so safe” were recorded.

We can improve how safe we feel, how strong our sense of community is, and how many neighbors we know by holding group events and making personal connections when we step out.  Waving to neighbors and friendly words make a difference.  Your suggestions on how to build community included outside events, block parties, a welcome wagon, group strolls and talking to each other.

Association events like the Summer Picnic and “Flamingo Friday” mixers are ready as soon as it’s safe to gather again.  We’re looking at how to offer some of the other ideas. “Meet-ups” through social media is a possibility.

How do you prefer to get Association news? 16 said the website; 27 Facebook; 53 newsletters.  Almost half those who like newsletters want four issues yearly.  We’ll increase the number of newsletters to what folks want, and keep up our online presence.

What programs do you value? 50 said security patrol; 44 Dirt Day; 41 Garage sales; 40 Pocket Gardens; 36 Weed control;  34 Sidewalk reimbursement; 32 Emerald Ash Borer treatment; 25 Summer picnic; 17 Flamingo Fridays.

What should we offer but don’t?  Driveway snow removal, salt streets, sidewalk snow removal, a 5K to meet neighbors, art/gardening classes by residents, yard maintenance help, kid holiday parades, organic/bee-friendly gardening, a progressive dessert home tour, restoration programs, scavenger hunt, silent disco, walk/run club, volunteers to help older residents, Woodhurst-style security, more Dirt Day locations, more benches, holiday lighting, ask for garden donations, letters written to problem homeowners.

Garage Sale Dates preference?  20 prefer Early June; 1 August; 23 Both.  The traditional June date is a clear favorite. Even though a group of people like having two, yet August doesn’t seem to have many fans.  If there isn’t a stay-at-home order, we’ll have two this year June 6 and September 12.  Maybe a sale after Labor Day will go well!

What are our greatest assets?  35 said historic architecture; 21 neighbors; 19 trees; 13 pride of ownership on display; 13 sense of community;  12 safety; 10 Foster Park; 8 beauty of surroundings; 8 walkability; 6 near downtown; 4 families/families move back; 4 home bargains/growing value;  2 quiet; 2 St Johns. Also mentioned: association; gardens; local businesses; no rentals.

What are our biggest challenges?  13 said home and yard maintenance; 13 crime/safety/south side myth; 11 traffic/speeding; 8 parking; 5 sidewalks; 4 more local businesses/restaurants; 4 rentals; 3 curbs/paving; 3 declining nearby neighborhoods; 3 garbage service; 3 resale home values; 3 welcoming arrivals; 2 apathy; 2 rats; 2 snow plowing.  Also mentioned: barking dogs; cats roaming; consistency of event schedule; directory; empty homes; empty Summit buildings; Fairfield/Maxine corner; fireworks; grocery; leaves in streets; meeting neighbors; nosy neighbors; over-trimmed street trees; public transit linkage; replacing trees; retention of residents; schools; security patrol; Southwood Park unknown to relocators; unsupervised kids/pets; utility infrastructure.

Are there “big trends” from these lists?  Yes!  Many issues are both assets and challenges. Here are things to consider.

  • We need to work to beautify and maintain our historic character. It’s our top asset and our top challenge.
  • We grow to love our neighbors, but do we always welcome new ones? We need to go out of our way to do that.
  • Are we doing neighborly things like shoveling the snow, minding our pets, and “driving like our kids live here”?
  • Almost the same number of people mentioned safety as an asset as mentioned crime as a challenge. Do we lock our cars, report suspicious activity to FWPD, and phone 311 about burned out streetlights – so we continue to feel safe here?  All of these little things count when it comes to battling the “south side myth”.
  • We value being walkable and close to downtown, but do we frequent our local establishments enough? These are issues to tackle individually and collectively.

—Steve McCord, Board president,, 312-7532.


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