By Sandra Williams Bright
Lower Third Neighborhood Watch/Concerned Citizens Organization
Do you want to be informed about the plans for your community proposed by the City of Alexandria? Do you want to make your community a better place by reporting crime and illegal drug distribution? Do you want to make a difference in your community by participating in projects that enhance the living conditions for its citizens with emphasis on youth and senior citizens projects? If so, you need to be a part of the Lower Third Neighborhood Watch/Concerned Citizens Organization.
I am amazed by the number of Lower Third community residents, who are not aware of this organization, which has been around a long time.
Many of the founders are elderly or in ill health or have died. That’s why we need committed and dedicated members to join, work and make a difference in this community.
We now have a generation growing who has not been taught core values of respect for self and others, honesty, hard work and accountability. We have to “take back” our neighborhoods one neighborhood at a time. We have to “draw a line in the sand and take a stand.”
When people work together they CAN make a difference. Sociologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.”
Several proposed projects are in the making for the Lower 3rd community-S.P.A.R.C. initiatives, Third Street Streetscape project and Ruston Foundry reuse. Many other issues need to be addressed such as drainage problems, street repair, illegal drugs distribution, loud music, school dropouts-especially among male high school students and “slum lords/tenant” problems to name a few.
The community needs its citizens to become active and participate in these issues. Whether offering a solution, to some of these problems to reporting street problems, drainage issues and illegal drug activities to the appropriate authorities-each citizen can do his or her part to make the community a better and safer place to live. Police can’t be everywhere. The citizens are the eyes and ears of the community and must work with the police if “we” want to see a change. We need to be the “neighborhood watch” for each other’s property. Activities like illegal drug sales flourish because we look the other way and allow it to happen.
When a community takes a stand and works toward eliminating the drug problem, the violators move to other areas. Just because one area of town is having a problem with illegal drug activity, does not mean that your neighborhood won’t be affected.
Illegal drug “stores” and distribution houses are rampant throughout the parish. Drug dealers are like roaches-when you put the poison to them, you may “knock off a few, but the rest just move to another area that has not been treated with the roach poison and set up shop. Roaches multiply faster than rabbits. When you see one, others will soon be showing up. Getting rid of roaches takes a concerted approach by all communities-half treating the problem causes the roaches to become immune and multiply faster.
People, we have a lot of work to do in our community. It starts with one project at a time and one person at a time. We tend to sit back and let other people do “our” work and say, “I’m glad that you are doing this or that. Keep it up.” Why can’t you be the one participating in this “work?”
One person can’t do everything. We profess to be a Christian nation and community. What will you tell St. Peter when you make it to the “Pearly Gates?” I hope it is not, “I was too busy taking care of the missions overseas to do any missionary work in my community.” Charity begins at home.
Everyone has a talent or skill. Our organization needs your talent or skill in order to form committees, become incorporated as a non-profit in order to garner grants and resources to make a difference in the neighborhood and overall community.
The next meeting of the Lower Third Neighborhood Watch/Concerned Citizens Organization is at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, Wilborn-Dempsey Multipurpose Resource Center. Guest presenters will be Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc., professional engineers, along with Jeffrey Carbo, professional landscape architect.
Discussion will be centered on the proposed Third Street Streetscape project. All community residents, landowners and businesses located along the Main Street and Third Street corridors from Casson to Broadway Streets are urged to attend this important presentation and participate by asking questions and offering solutions as to “WHAT THE COMMUNITY WOULD LIKE TO SEE ACTUALIZED ALONG THIS CORRIDOR.”
Lend a hand to this organization to make our neighborhood and community a better place to live. Let’s reverse the downward spiral of urban blight. I’m greatly sadden to see how the neighborhood in which I was born and raised in has become so “trashy with an aura of decay about it.”
It dismays me to see the disrespect shown for senior citizens in their “golden years” who have given their lives in service and hardship during the civil rights movement to ensure we have the rights that were given to us as citizens of America under the Constitution.
Let’s join forces to bring back the neighbor in neighborhood, especially in the Lower Third community.
See you on at the meeting.