1.) What is a neighborhood association?
A Neighborhood Association is a formally organized group of community stakeholders (residents, business owners, clergy etc.) who work for the betterment of their community. An association is open to all members within the boundaries of the recognized neighborhood without bias and has as a regulated and predictable meeting pattern which is advertised in an appropriate manner to all members of the community. An association must have an organizing document ratified by the group which outlines the process by which leadership is elected and finances are recorded.
2.) What is NOT a neighborhood association?
A Neighborhood Association is not an exclusionary group. Associations have broad mission statements which are able to support and reflect the changing needs and wants of the residents over time. Neighborhood Associations are not municipal government entities, desires and choices of the associations are not, and should not, be considered to be reflective of the Town of Irondequoit. Associations are not block clubs, a neighborhood association should encompass approximately 15-20 streets or between 500 and 700 households.
3.) What counts as a neighborhood?
A neighborhood may be simply defined as a group of homes surrounded by a geographic boundary. Each neighborhood takes on an identity based on the people who live, work, or have an interest in the area. Citizens are a crucial component in making neighborhoods more enjoyable, livable, and satisfying because they are all stakeholders in the well-being of their respective communities.
4.) Why neighborhood associations?
Neighborhood Associations develop an important link between municipal governments and the residents. An effective association helps community stakeholders to work in conjunction with the public sector to solve problems, communicate effectively and connect residents. In addition, a neighborhood association helps to create strong ties between members of a given community. Getting to know your neighbors helps residents feel safer, valued and more connected to their community.
5.) Who draws association boundaries?
Residents do! When groups form proposed boundaries are usually suggested based on community character, naturally occurring boundaries and an ideal size just as a starting place but these are flexible based on resident input and feedback during the initial organization process.
6.) What sort of activities can I expect from a neighborhood association?
Associations manage two types of projects. Events and Initiatives. Event opportunities are for residents to connect and meet other families in their community. Examples include but are not limited to: Community Garage Sales, Neighborhood Picnics, Home and Garden Tours, Pot Lucks etc.. Initiatives are ongoing programs and long-term projects which are intended to promote the ongoing enhancement of the community such as public garden maintenance, welcome packages for new neighbors, fundraising for installation and care of public art and unique signage.
7.) Will a neighborhood association create/enforce rules about how I maintain my home?
No, a neighborhood association should not be confused with a Homeowner’s Association or HOA. Participation in an association is voluntary residents have the choice to become involved to the extent at which they feel comfortable. The primary focus of a neighborhood association is community building and enhancement. If concerns arise surrounding the condition of a particular property those concerns should continue to be addressed through code enforcement at Town Hall.
8.) Who will lead these organizations?
Resident leaders who have an interest in getting a group started are usually the initial lead contacts but are not necessarily the ones that will be chosen to continue to lead the proposed group at the first meeting. Once the group meets it is customary to have an open call of interested volunteers and elections if necessary. After the first year and when the group is more established and has registered with the Town it is necessary for them to have a regularly occurring democratic election process.
9.) Why doesn’t the area where I live have an association?
The Town of Irondequoit is ready, willing and able to help every community get their own group started, but resident leadership is at the heart of this program. If you don’t have a neighborhood association for your area, it simply means we have not found one of your neighbors who is willing or able to be the initial lead organizer. If that’s you or someone you know give us a call and we’ll get started.
10.) Will an association charge mandatory dues?
In an effort for associations to remain equitable and accessible to all, the Town does not recommend collecting dues. Associations have no authority to force neighbors to make compulsory contributions.
11.) What is the difference between a Neighborhood Watch and a Neighborhood Association?
We like to say that Neighborhood Watch is one tool in the Neighborhood Association tool box. An association is generally an umbrella organization focused on a wide array of community building activities one of these activities may be a neighborhood watch.
12.) How is the town helping support the growth of strong communities in Irondequoit?
The Town knows that residents who feel safe, connected and valued within their communities are important assets in making our community a desirable place to live and increase the quality of life benefits for residents. To help meet these goals the town is ready to help residents through the process of setting up a nonprofit organization, and with initial communications and tasks such as photocopying and coaching.
13.) What is the Irondequoit Neighborhood Roundtable?
The Roundtable a group made up of the leaders of each of Irondequoit’s Neighborhood Associations. Leaders gather four times a year to collaborate on common goals and share best practices among groups.
14.) How is this initiative being funded?
Each neighborhood group is expected to think creatively in order to fundraise for and support their respective organizations as the Town is not providing direct financing to these groups. The small amount of resources utilized to support the initial establishment and equitable notification of area residents is being provided by the fines collected from the Medley Center and other troubled properties NOT tax dollars. Residents seeking support for small community improvement projects (benches, banners, gardens, signage) may wish to consider applying for grant funding via an associated program called the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, or NEP which utilizes the same funding source. In essence, we are investing funds obtained by those who are devaluing our neighborhoods – and reinvesting that money into improving them.