Neighborhood night out, recycling days and weed-pulling parties are just a few of the events planned for the Heritage East neighborhood. Daniel Martinez, president of the Heritage East Association of Residents, said there are a lot of plans for the rest of the year.
“We want to have more inclusive events that increase communication in the neighborhood,” Martinez wrote in a text message. “The whole idea is to bring back the ‘good ‘ol days’ when people were BBQing with their neighbors and build our community through communication and unity.”
Association members discussed problems and potential solutions for their neighborhood at the April 21 annual HEAR meeting held inside the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center. After a presentation on crime prevention tips was given by Albuquerque police officers Greg Weber and Angie Casias, HEAR members moved on to discuss beautification efforts and expansion of the association.
High on the agenda was figuring out how to get volunteers to help pull weeds in the neighborhood. According to one of the HEAR meeting attendees, the weeds at a home along Palomas is getting out of control. “The gentleman that lives there is an elderly gentleman, and from what I understand he has a hard time pulling weeds,” Martinez said. “I think it’d be fantastic if we had some volunteers — everybody wants to volunteer to pull weeds, right?”
Another member suggested getting teenagers and other kids to help, with the possibility of paying them with money from the association’s general funds. Some of the association’s funds are raised through its recycling program. Aluminum and other recyclables are collected at Rotary Park from 8:30-11 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month.
“Now that aluminum has doubled in price, we’re now getting 60 cents a pound. We’re really bringing money in. Real money,” said Susan Tackman, HEAR recycling coordinator. “My goal is though one Saturday to have 200 pounds. So far, 157 is our top. How about 200?” Tackman asked.
Members also discussed how to improve communication to neighborhood residents and how to expand association membership. The association’s current mailing list includes about 1,300 email addresses. About half of the emails sent notifying residents of the Easter egg hunt at Rotary Park were opened, according to HEAR’s webmaster.
Other items on the agenda included a Christmas tree lighting and the neighborhood night out events. According to cabq.gov, neighborhood, or national, night out occurs each year across the United States to help raise awareness about crime and drug prevention, to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community partnerships, and to “send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
In the past, Heritage East competed with the Quintessence neighborhood to see who could have a bigger night out. Eventually the two neighborhoods merged the event, with about 200 people attending the most recent night out. Albuquerque firefighters, APD’s horse patrol, city councilors and other members of the public have attended previous night out events.
According to one HEAR member, only 15 of the nearly 200 neighborhood associations in Albuquerque participate in the National Night Out. The city of Albuquerque’s website says National Night Out is when, “Neighbors from across the United States host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events to send a message that our community is fighting back against crime.” The event occurs the first Tuesday in August, according to natw.org, the website for the National Association of Town Watch.
Neighborhood associations can organize a National Night Out through the natw.org website or by visiting cabq.gov/national-night-out. For more information on events in Heritage East or how to become a member of HEAR, visit hear-online.org.