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Start a Neighborhood Association

Forming a neighborhood association, neighborhood watch, business association, or other type of neighborhood group offers several benefits that will help you maintain or improve the strength of your community. Establishing a neighborhood organization will:

  • Amplify your voice to help you shape what happens in your neighborhood
  • Provide opportunities for you to meet other residents
  • Keep you informed of proposed construction or improvements of homes and businesses in your neighborhood
  • Connect you to City staff, elected officials, and other agencies looking for help with improving the livability of your neighborhood

Getting Started

Some initial steps to forming a neighborhood organization include:

  • Contact a Neighborhood Resource Coordinator 
  • Meet with a small group of neighbors or other members of your community to get their input on establishing a neighborhood organization
  • Discuss what goals you would like your organization to achieve
  • Determine specific boundaries for the area your organization will serve
  • Decide where and how often you want to meet as an organization
  • Add your group to the Neighborhood Directory

Form a Start Up Committee

Get together an initial group of neighbors who have a genuine interest in neighborhood involvement. This committee will meet to establish the purpose and boundaries of the association.

Outreach to the Neighborhood

You could spread the word through a variety of means, including; door to door canvassing, hosting a small event, posting flyers in the neighborhood schools & shopping centers, or conducting a neighborhood needs survey. Be sure to start a database for contacting neighbors & businesses.

Prepare for the General meeting

Work with the Neighborhood Resources Coordinator (NRC) for your area. The NRC has helpful information on running effective meetings, as well as samples of agendas, committee forms, neighborhood surveys, and more. Agree upon roles for the first meeting (facilitators, note takers, etc.) Some suggestions:

  • Plan to provide time for neighbors to get to know one another.
  • Work with the City to have representatives from City Departments present, if desired.
  • Consider asking local business could donate refreshments.

Hold the first General meeting

The Start­up Committee can introduce the purpose & boundaries of the association. As a group, discuss the vision of the association. Establish & prioritize goals for the neighborhood. Select initial action committee (Consider establishing one committee to address your first major issue/goal or project, & developing more once that issue has been effectively resolved). Agree upon future meeting dates. Bring useful information about the neighborhood (upcoming activities at the school or community center). Don’t forget to provide opportunities for input from all attendees throughout each the discussion topics. Invite neighbors to be part of the Start­up Committee. Establish a means to contact attendees.

Get moving!

Following the initial meeting, the action committee should meet & begin working toward resolving their issue/project. Once effectively addressed, celebrate your victory with the neighborhood! The Start­up Committee should begin planning for the next meeting’s agenda. Continue to work toward expanding the membership base. Don’t forget to have fun! An effective association encourages neighbor participation by addressing relative issues, getting things done & making community involvement an engaging process.

We can help

The Neighborhood Services Division is available to help you! Contact NSD staff to learn about workshops for community leaders, public involvement opportunities, and to get help developing your organization.