Greene County MU Extension Launches Neighborhood Pilot Projects March 1
- Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2021
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Eight neighborhoods in Greene County are part of a pilot project launched March 1, 2021, as part of University of Missouri Extension’s new “Engaged Neighbor” program. Funding for this project is provided by the Greene County MU Extension Council and the Greene County Commission.
Neighborhoods in the project include: Stoney Creek Estates (Republic), Legacy Trails Subdivision (Springfield), McAl Neighborhood (Springfield), Village of Brookline (Republic), The Meadows (Willard/Springfield), Serenity Valley (Ash Grove), and Rankin Acres (Republic).
“These neighborhoods are very different in location, demographics, size and governance,” said David Burton, county engagement specialist with MU Extension. “My first goal is to develop a culture in these neighborhoods that helps residents to see their neighborhood as safer, friendlier and cleaner. That is part of what we will be surveying residents about regularly.”
The ultimate goal of the project, according to Burton, is to develop further research and practical examples of how to create a culture of neighborliness that can be exported to other neighborhoods, other communities and other states.
“I think we will learn examples of what to do, and what not to do in different types of neighborhoods, and both of those are equally important,” said Burton.
The efforts being planned for these neighborhoods in 2021 and 2020 includes:
• Every resident will receive a mailed quarterly newsletter about neighboring with practical advice on neighboring as well as information about neighboring classes and events.
• A neighborhood directory will be created for residents that provide their information.
• Residents will be encouraged to form associations around shared or common interests.
• A neighborhood event or picnic will be planned and hosted in the neighborhood.
The success of the program depends on locating individuals willing to serve as “connectors” in their neighborhood or on their street. The connectors become the primary leadership and communication team for the entire effort.
“These pilot projects build on the connection, purpose and leadership growth that occurs when neighbors build relationships over common interests,” said Burton. “I really want to get folks reading about being good neighbors and attending some of our classes too.”
In the process of becoming an engaged neighbor an individual, neighborhood and community are improved, loneliness is reduced and neighborhoods become more healthy and inclusive.
Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in closest proximity to you. Neighboring begins by learning and using names, it grows through associations, and ultimately it bears fruit with engaged neighbors who can positively impact their neighborhood and their community.
University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement that recognizes the importance of neighboring in community development. As community leaders and advocates, we encourage friends to learn the names of all their neighbors, build relationships with their neighbors through common interests and shared experiences, and sustain compassionate and caring practices of neighborly love.
To learn more about our "Engaged Neighbor" program, or for more on the impact of neighboring, go online to https://extension.missouri.edu or contact David Burton by email at [email protected] or telephone at (417) 881-8909.
“Becoming an Engaged Neighbor” can also be found on Facebook.
Writer: David Burton
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