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Sunday, June 2, 2002
Last modified at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, 2002
© 2002 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

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Association works to help shape neighborhoods


Dawn Pace said that if it wasn't for Lubbock United Neighborhood Association, she doesn't know how anything would get done in her neighborhood.

Pace is a second-year president of Bayless-Atkins Neighborhood Group. She said that when Ribble Park continuously flooded, LUNA served as a conduit to get something done about the problem.

''We built a bridge and paved a flood area in the park because kids were walking in the streets,'' she said. ''Ribble floods so bad.''

LUNA kept its eyes open for government block money, she said, and informed Bayless-Atkins when money was available.

''They acted as a liaison. When a grant becomes available, they notify the neighborhood association,'' she said.

When crime was up in the city during 2002, she said, LUNA helped them face the problem by giving Bayless-Atkins group police contacts to help curb the problem.

Crime dropped in their community after facing the problem as a neighborhood, she said.

''If you have a problem, they know exactly what information you need to know,'' Pace said. ''They know exactly who you need to call.

Neighborhood associations can use LUNA as a tool to make their neighborhoods a better place, according to Carol Hedrick, executive administrator for the organization.

''We try to give neighborhood associations, their leaders, their board members, the tools they can use whether it's how to run a meeting, or finding a contact with the city if they are having a problem,'' Hedrick said. ''Maybe they want to put on a special event. Well, we have books that they can check out that can tell them how to do it.''

But the big reason for LUNA is to get neighbors organized and working together, said Curtis Parrish, director of information and projects for LUNA.

''We're kind of in the neighbor connection business,'' Parrish said. ''When neighbors are connected, they can have a huge impact on the crime rate, or clean-up issues or anything else that a neighborhood might face.

''We have a slogan that I kind of like. You don't have to move to live in a better neighborhood.''

Parrish explained that LUNA helps new neighborhood associations write their own bylaws and address the specific needs of their area, he said.

Also, the organization will provide contact information to the neighborhood groups for city offices who can help solve a problem as well as crime statistics for their area.

''Every neighborhood is different,'' Parrish said. ''That's why do have so many different neighborhood associations, so they can deal with what their neighborhood needs.''

LUNA, which is a non-profit organization, can serve as a grant conduit for community development block grants, he said, for projects such as replacing sidewalks or neighborhood beautification.

Though originally established as an informal forum for neighborhood residents, it became an independent, community based non-profit organization in January 1994.

Lubbock now has 40 different neighborhood associations, Parrish said. The newest neighborhood associations are Stubbs-Stewart and King's Park.

LUNA's goal not only is to start new neighborhood associations, he said, but also to revitalize and support the organizations already in place.

The development in the North Overton area of town is one such area on which LUNA is keeping an eye.

''The changes are very dramatic over in the North Overton area because of the development over there,'' Parrish said. ''The changing demographics are changing that neighborhood dramatically. LUNA is watching that very closely to offer any assistance that we can.''

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