Stonegate-Homestead neighborhoods come together
Sheila Hollin and Connie Davis were walking in their neighborhood last September when they started talking about how things were when they moved into Stonegate more than 30 years ago. They remembered neighbors in the subdivision off Big Sink Pike regularly talking to each other “and you just don’t see it anymore,” Davis said. That’s when Hollin asked her neighbor what she thought about trying to start a new neighborhood association – telling Davis, “What’s it going to hurt to try?” So Hollin, Davis and several other neighbors have been working since last October to organize the Stonegate-Homestead Neighborhood Association, a nonprofit that encourages residents to come together for social, civic and charitable activities and events to enhance the neighborhood. The association’s board members lined Quail Run, the street entering Stonegate, with American Flags for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, said Brad Eldridge, a Homestead resident and president of the neighborhood association. He and other residents of Homestead, a nearby subdivision developed in the 1990s, were invited to become a part of the neighborhood association being organized, Davis explained. “As a group, we can speak with a common voice,” Eldridge said. “We have small projects that we’d like to do, but there’s also large ones … If we have (people join the association in) … large numbers we can do those things.” Such efforts will be supported by annual dues of $20 and ideas from neighbors who join the association. A membership drive is being held Saturday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A tent will be set up at the Stonegate entrance, with board members handing out signup forms and flyers as well as water and More Than a Bakery cookies, Eldridge said. The Stonegate-Homestead Neighborhood Association will also seek out grants to do larger projects such as improving a neighborhood park or adding trails for biking and walking, Davis said. “It’s time for us to do more for the neighbors,” Jerry Mueller, who moved into Stonegate in 1982, said. A neighborhood garage sale has been discussed to get more people talking to each other, said Lonnie Leland, board vice president and a Stonegate resident. An annual cookout has also been discussed. “The social aspect of the (neighborhood) association is probably the most important part of it,” said Mueller. “Getting to know your neighbor, getting neighbors to work together, helping one another, I think makes a much better neighborhood and a much safer neighborhood for children and for old folks like me.” Getting to know their neighbors may help residents of the subdivisions find a babysitter or someone to rake leaves in their yards, Eldridge said. He said the association was recently awarded a grant from the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), which has provided guidance to board members of a Stonegate-Homestead Neighborhood Association as they progressed with organizing as a nonprofit and limited liability company. Homestead resident Jeff Richards, who has two young children, has created a website for the neighborhood association to facilitate discussion and also get feedback from neighbors, he explained. He said residents of the subdivision can also join the neighborhood association online. “Our funds are just extremely limited,” Eldridge said. “We’re really dependent on membership” to organize events and do larger projects to improve the Stonegate-Homestead neighborhood. Because it’s a neighborhood association – not a homeowners association – board members emphasized they do not have any authority to enforce rules. “We want to bring people together and strengthen our neighborhood, strengthen the bond of our neighbors … and just help,” said Leland. He said a neighborhood association gets started with people coming together.