By JOE JAROSZ
June 4, 2014
Editor’s note: The following piece is the fourth in a series of interviews and articles about neighborhood associations in the Northeast.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Love where you live and take care of it like anything you love.
That’s the mindset of residents in Pendleton Heights.
The neighborhood has even taken on the personalities of its residents. Jessica Ray, president of the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association since 2012, said the association is “a cool place filled with cool people who love to talk about it and take care of it.”
“We have a good group of young, energetic people,” Ray said. “It’s been fun to see the care for the community grow.”
Most neighborhood groups differ from area to area. But at their core, Ray said they’re civic groups who look out for the needs of the community. Residents in Pendleton Heights stand apart from other associations, Ray said, because of the group’s passion for the neighborhood and building a sense of community.
“Our goals are more about bringing neighbors together more than any other agenda,” Ray said, adding the association has been working hard to build a community where people spend time together. “All the political things we have to be involved in take a second tier to bringing the community together and making it a clean and safe place to live.”
The neighborhood association covers Cliff Drive on the north, Independence Boulevard on the south, The Paseo on the west and Chestnut Trafficway to the east. The association meets from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
About two years ago, a survey was passed to the residents of Pendleton Heights. Ray say the top concerns of the residents included vacant store fronts and houses, beautification and the perception of crime. Since then, the association has been working to address those three items for its residents including enacting a neighborhood crime watch and working with Legal Aid of Western Missouri and the city to move vacant houses to new ownership.
“Also just building a stronger sense of community through neighborhood events, socials, meetings and all those things,” Ray said.
It is that strong sense of community, Ray said, that the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association has a strong membership. She added the neighborhood socials, community gardens and monthly neighborhood home tours got people more involved. Care of public space is also important to everyone, Ray said.
“It’s largely about having a variety of activities to appeal to a variety of people,” Ray said. “A lot of people won’t come to monthly meetings but they’ll pick-up trash or work in a garden.”
Around the corner, on June 21, the association is hosting a neighborhood yard sale on the summer solstice. The association will have the yard sale set-up at a pocket park at Lexington and Brooklyn Avenues. A summer solstice garden party will take place later that day in the community garden. Ray said she’s working to get people outside more.
In the long-run, the goal is to continue the beautification work on Lexington Avenue. By the end of the year, that stretch of road, she said, should look much better than it currently does.
If you live in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood and want to be more involved with your community, you can contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.pendletonheights.org.