Our parents warned us of its high crime rate and bad reputation. Our friends couldn’t understand why we didn’t buy a house outside the city. Our co-workers scoffed at buying homes for a few thousand dollars and then putting twice that into remodeling them.

In spite of all this, we chose to live in our neighborhood. We moved here because it was close to work and Downtown, to the great outdoors of White Rock Lake and Samuell-Grand Park, to browsing at the Lakewood and Casa Linda shopping centers, and to the night life along Greenville Avenue.

We moved here because the neighborhoods were established and homey, and the trees were 100 years old. And we moved here because the area is rich in diversity – not just coexisting, but co-mingling, creating something special together: A sense of neighborhood.

We want to show you how to build that sense of neighborhood in the coming months. That will be one of the goals of this column – to pass along some of the tricks and techniques we have learned over the past several years.

While various City departments and elected officials look out for certain aspects of a neighborhood, the residents themselves know best what their own priorities are and have the most at stake in carrying them out.

Organized neighborhoods are better-equipped to deal with crime, traffic, noise, and other problems. They are better equipped to deal with outside interests such as developers, absentee landlords, gangs and, sometimes, even City departments.

Through meetings, newsletters and voice mail, neighborhood groups provide timely and in-depth communication and education, keeping residents well informed of issues and events affecting their lives.

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