A few weeks ago, I used a spiffy Google feature for the first time: a map you can annotate and share. Click on the picture at right to see an annotated map of east Dallas and all its known neighborhood associations.
Using this feature is simple: go to Google Maps, sign in with your Google account, click on My Maps, and start annotating. The annotation buttons appear near the zoom slider. Be sure to save it!
I created this map to help me understand what areas of far east Dallas are represented by neighborhood associations.
I had an ulterior motive. The area just north of mine, called Lake Highlands (not to be confused with the Old Lake Highlands neighborhood, which is also north of me but not part of Lake Highlands), has an organization called Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association. This association supplements homeowners’ and neighborhood associations by coordinating communications and actions on issues that broadly affect the area. This association has reasonable success getting its message out to the public and government per Dallas Morning News’s search feature.
I envision a similar organization for far east Dallas, possibly called the Garden and Lakes District Council of Neighborhoods. This association would serve the area by providing the same badly-needed coordination of action and communications. I also envision it helping start up and sustain neighborhood associations in areas currently lacking one. An active neighborhood association can make a long-term difference in a neighborhood’s vitality.
Lake Highlands has pockets of dilapidated housing interspersed through its area, but its single family detached neighborhoods are pretty stable. Far east Dallas is different: several neighborhoods are turning into rental communities or ultra-cheap housing. Some of them are fighting this, and doing a good job at it, but it’s tough. Several neighborhoods have no active neighborhood associations, nobody to fight against creeping decline.
I want to change that.
I have emailed this idea to all area neighborhood association presidents, and the response was very positive. The next step is come up with a coherent plan and have a working meeting to put the plan into action. Today I met with a fellow neighborhood association president and an area business owner to discuss ideas on putting a plan into action.
It will be interesting to see how this works out. Sometimes I fear I’m getting in a little over my head, but at the same time, if you never challenge yourself, you’ll never learn new things.