" Organizing a Block Club "
A block club is a group of citizens who work together to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. Primarily, a block club should be a SOCIAL organization, and the needs be organized with by-laws only by choice. Block clubs are designed to bring neighbors together so they may get to know each other and discuss items of mutual concern.
In order to maintain a friendly atmosphere and break down some of the social barriers which may exist between neighbors, it is helpful to meet in a block member's home. If it is not possible to hold a meeting in someone's home due to the group's size or some other extenuating circumstance, a community center, church, or other public-oriented meeting area may be utilized.
Meetings should be scheduled on an as-needed basis. In the beginning stages, a block club may need to meet as frequently as every two weeks for the first two or three meetings. Once the foundation has been set, members may want to meet monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. At any time the block club may set new meeting standards that best meet the activities and goals the group is working upon.
Starting a Block Club:
A community Police Officer may be contacted by any individual regarding the formation of a block club, and will assist in its creation.
Notifications - no one in the particular neighborhood should be left out when notification about the meeting is being made. Businesses should also be invited since they are part of the neighborhood. The community Police Officer may assist in the notification process by copying meeting notices for distribution by the potential club members. Notification of meetings can be accomplished by (1) personal visits, (2) telephone or (3) invitations by mail.
Set a Date! A date for the meeting should ideally be any weekday with the exception of Friday, preferably in the evening. Weekends should be avoided if possible. It should be emphasized that there are usually no "quick fixes" for neighborhood problems. A list of community problems should be created with the input from the members of the club. Find out the most pressing problems of your block..... housing? litter? rubbish or garbage? abandoned eyesores? rats or roaming dogs? building code violations? general appearance? zoning violations? What about the city/town services you are receiving... can they be improved? Police/Fire protection? Streets (paving, cleaning)? Abandoned Cars? Street Lighting? Speeding? Rubbish Pickup? Traffic Signs? Play Areas? Parking? All of these issues can be addressed at your Block Club meetings.
List the most pressing problems.....
Vote to work together to do something about them.....
Assign people to get all the facts and report at the next Block meeting.....
Discuss possible solutions.....
Draw up a plan of action - give everyone a job to do.....
Get busy and take action to solve the problem!
What can Block Clubs Do?
1 Clean up vacant lots and get permission to use them as playgrounds.
2 Meet with local officials to discuss neighborhood problems - police, fire, trash pick up, streets, improvements, lighting...
3 Beautify streets by arranging for the planting of trees, flowerbeds, etc.
4 Help paint a needy neighbor's house - get everyone to help!
5 War on Rats - remove their food and shelter, make buildings rat proof.
6 Fight for better housing - obtain legal advice on laws relating to code enforcement, rent withholding, zoning violations, etc.
7 Get together with other clubs for joint action on common projects - paving, parks, etc.
8 Arrange building inspections for the neighborhood. Study landlord-tenant responsibilities
9 Hold a party for the whole block! Inform people, raise money for projects and make friends!