Many cities have a department that helps residents trying to start or run neighborhood associations. Dallas doesn’t.

As a result, information needed to ably run such associations has traditionally been scattered and difficult to obtain. Seeing this information gap, Preservation Dallas executive director Catherine Horsey decided to create a guide for neighborhood associations.

“I thought it would take three or four months,” Horsey says. “It took about two years.” Preservation Dallas worked with neighborhood organizations, the Dallas Plan, the Greater Dallas Healthy Community Initiative and the Dallas Affordable Housing Coalition to learn what neighbors wanted to know and then to give them those answers.

The work has paid off with a 300-page handbook chockfull of information. Included is step-by-step guidance on organizing a neighborhood association; resources available to neighborhood associations, such as newsletter assistance, City services, trees for parkways and insurance; and in-depth explanations on topics ranging from how to get your neighborhood designated a conservation district to how to get sign-toppers for your neighborhood. Long-range planning for a neighborhood is also discussed.

The nonprofit Preservation Dallas is dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Dallas’ historic neighborhoods and buildings. That mission isn’t directly tied to answering questions about neighborhood associations, and yet, somehow the group found itself taking on that role by default. With the creation of this guide, Preservation Dallas can provide most any answer in one package.

“It takes care of a lot of the needs we see,” Horsey says. “We say: Here’s the book.”

Funding for the project was provided by the Fidelity Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation and Bank of America Texas. One copy of the neighborhood handbook is available free of charge to every Dallas neighborhood association. Arrangements can be made to pick up a handbook by calling 214-821-3290.