Create a block club!
A Block Club helps residents work together to address challenges and bring about positive change on their street. While each Block Club is customized to fit their own needs, the benefit of all Block Clubs includes: Fostering relationships between neighbors, building real community, securing a safer environment, increasing home values, and providing effective ways to address neighborhood issues.
Block Clubs can be started with a few residents of the street who share a concern and commitment to their street. One the ball gets started, the MNA has found that other neighbors join in and the Block Club grows. Maplewood has a growing number of block clubs such as Seneca Parkway. Some of them have been around 10 years or more, others are just starting up.
Steps to form a Block Club:
Locate several reliable residents on your street who are motivated to affect change. It’s extremely important to team-up with others to share responsibilities; this prevents any one individual from managing too many details.
- Invite these neighbors to a meeting to discuss common concerns and goals. Document these goals for the Block Club. Identify strengths and resources, and define roles and responsibilities accordingly. These may include: Block Club Leader, writer and/or communicator, those that can make copies, flier distributors, event coordinators, etc.
- Schedule a meeting for everyone on the street to attend.
- Announce the creation, intention and first meeting of the Block Club. Typically this is done through a flier. (The MNA has a sample flier for your reference.)
- Develop an agenda and talking points. Be prepared to listen to neighbors’ concerns (some may need to blow off steam). Have a sign-in sheet to collect contact information. Emails are a practical way to cheaply and immediately connect with mostly everyone on the street.
- Identify a major concern. Devise a problem-solving strategy and document what action will be taken. (This will drive the agenda for later meetings.)
- In the future, consider developing a mission statement, standards or Code of Conduct. Documenting shared expectations regarding home appearance & maintenance, noise pollution, compliance to City Code and other community-friendly behavior is a highly effective way to demonstrate to new neighbors and landlords what is and is not acceptable on your street. (The MNA has samples for your reference.)
- Engage in Social Activities!
- Develop traditions such as Block Club Picnic, Winter Chili Party.
- Participate in Maplewood SELLabaration (community-wide garage sale held every July) together.
- Create Seasonal Street Newsletters to keep neighbors up-to-date.
- Form a Neighborhood Watch.
Mary Lou Frank, Block Club Advisor for the Maplewood Neighborhood Association, is available to assist you in developing a Block Club, and answer any of your questions. Simply call the Maplewood Neighborhood Association Office at 458-3460 and leave a message.
Be sure to stay in contact with Mary Lou and the MNA for support and collaboration with other Block Club Leaders. Mary Lou has developed a flyer on How to Start a Block Club.
Together we can and will make Maplewood the neighborhood that everyone wants to live in! Won’t you join us! Start the transformation of your neighborhood now!