From the office of Council President Harris: Working together in our neighborhoods


It’s nice to come home after a long day of work to a calm house and a peaceful neighborhood. We hear from people in our district that sometimes neighbors are not extending courtesies to one another.

In the office, we get phone calls about weeds growing through fences into the next yard, garbage strewn in yards attracting rodents, people parking too close to others’ driveways or on sidewalks, cars parked too close to intersections causing accidents and more. Now that fall is here and winter is coming soon, raking leaves and shoveling snow will also be important to keep up with.

Author Robert Fulghum, writer of “Maybe (Maybe Not)” and “What on Earth Have I Done” once said, “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”

And, if you think about it, he may have been talking about being friendly to your neighbors. Making peace in the neighborhood and caring about others enough to think of your neighbors to keep peace. Getting to know who lives on either side of you and on your street, making friends may make some of these problems go away.

Why might they go away? Because once you get to know someone, more often you think about that person’s thoughts, feelings, peace and comforts before you make a choice of leaving garbage out in your backyard that may cause a bad odor and bring mice and mosquitoes.

Recently, a children’s playground in Brightwood was destroyed by fire. It was the privately owned playground at Providence Family Support Center, a community neighbor, who is so generous that they always left the gate to their playground open for the enjoyment of the children in the area because there was no playground near that location.

A neighbor that generous did not deserve to have their playground ruined. In 2002, the playground cost $50,000 to construct; who knows how much it will cost to rise from the ashes.

Playgrounds are very expensive to build and they deserve to have their playground rebuilt. But, if it’s rebuilt, will Sr. Carolyn Winschel, the executive director, feel safe leaving her gate open for the neighborhood children to again play in the playground? I will not rest until I find out the culprit and I’m setting up a reward for the person or persons who did this horrible deed.

Now, if there are problems in your neighborhood to the level of gunfire, robbery and speeding cars, you still need to call the police. They are here to serve in very serious matters.

So, be neighborly, get to know your neighbors and think of them before you act and do something that might cause them grief. Who knows? You may build friendships that lead to neighborhood cookouts next summer!

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