My Neighborhood Collaborative Report

On Saturday, April 8th, the Collaborative partnered with the Ashtabula City Neighborhood Watch and the Impact Initiative Group to do a clean up of the “Presidential Neighborhood” Members of Kent State Ashtabula Justice Club and young people from the Youth Detention Center participated as well. The City of Ashtabula helped with disposal of the trash. I-I-G also coordinated cleanups during the week in the West Avenue and Station Avenue areas of the city.

      The new “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) program has had a much better than anticipated response, originally 5 spots were made available at $200 a piece; we now have 8 which are filled and more are being made available. Please call 440-997-5957 ext. 520 if you are interested. The CSA will help the garden to become a self-supporting project and we hope to use some of money to make it “wheelchair friendly” with paths and raised boxes so people can garden from a wheelchair. Our Garden Manager Dave Dewey has talked about a CSA for two years and now, with assistance from Julie Wayman, this has taken off!

      Dave has worked very hard, mostly by himself, to make the garden what it is today: we are hoping the relationship with Ashtabula Municipal Court and the County Court will yield him some help in the form of people who need to fulfill community service hours.

      We continue to work with Laborer’s Local 245 and Union Industrial Contractors to get the long awaited pavilion up. The goal is to have it up by July 4th with a big party in the park to celebrate and thank all the people and organizations that have worked to make it happen!

      The city has begun maintenance with money from the Park and Recreation Levy and two more part-time people will be hired for the season. The park board and City Manager have decided for the first two years money from the levy will be used to repair or replace what needs attention in the parks. This is a 1.5 mill issue that runs for 5 years.

      The table/benches we obtained from the Lake Erie Correctional Institute are in need of some additional work before they can be placed in the parks; they are being stored in the city building on West Avenue. Also, the paving bricks Larry Fargo had intended to use around the fountain in Cornelius Park are not suitable for that and they have been offered to us for Kadon Park.

      On Thursday, May 11th the My Neighborhood Collaborative will have a “new look” to its meetings. We will gather at the Ashtabula County District Library, 4335 Park Avenue. The meeting will begin at 7 P-M and it will have a “twister” theme. The changes in venue and format come following at trip group members made to “Cleveland Up” back in December. All are invited to come and experience the change!      



As we start a New Year, the Collaborative is looking forward to construction of the pavilion at Clifford Kadon Park, revisiting our 501c3 status and changing the format of our Thursday evening meetings.

       We hope to have an agreement soon with Ryan Cochran of Union Industrial Contractors and Labor’s Local 245 that will allow for erecting the pavilion in late Spring or early Summer. Grant money from the Robert Morrison and Androse Foundations as well as the Diocese of Ohio is funding this project, we also hope to have lots of free, donated labor which we are grateful for! A meeting will be held at the Local Hall in North Kingsville on February 8th to discuss the agreement.

       The group’s 501c3 status has become problematic being under the umbrella of Ashtabula County Community Action, being the “parent company” they have first dibs at applying for grant money and most philanthropic organizations will not accept more than one application from the same non-profit; even though we are a different group, it’s still their 501c3. We are reviewing options.

       Back in December, several people in our group went to Cleveland to observe an organization like ours. What they found basically was that that they had one meeting for the discussion of business and another for community involvement. Our thought is that our Tuesday Executive Committee meetings will be for doing the business of our group and Thursdays will be a neighborhood “fun” or “engagement” evening. Look for more information about this.

       Beginning this spring, there should be a noticeable change in the condition of our city parks due to the passing of the Parks and Recreation Levy, parks will be put on a regular maintainence schedule and the city is in the process of hiring personnel for that.

       Our Valentine’s Day Dinner on February 11th was attended by about 20 people, they enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs with bread and salad. A craft and movie were part of the event. There will be other events during the spring and summer.

       One of those events we plan on is the dedication of the new pavilion at Kadon Presidential Park. Even though all the pieces did not come together as we thought they would, the meeting with Laborer’s Local 245 on February 8th was very positive, everyone was “on board” and we still hope for a late spring or early summer construction date. We are very grateful to all who have contributed to this project including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Ohio, Robert Morrison Foundation and the Androse Foundation.

       We are continuing to work toward a revamped format for the Thursday night meetings, the trip to Cleveland back in December helped in determining how we might better function as a group.

       We have begun discussions with the Ashtabula Municipal Court and County Courts regarding using inmates who need community service time to help Dave Dewey in the Community Garden or with neighborhood clean-ups.

       Speaking of the Garden, if you are interested in a plot or a raised bed, please call 440-997-5957 ext. 522 and leave a message. Also, St. Peter’s Church has received a 4-thousand-dollar grant from the Diocese of Ohio for the Garden.

       More information will posted as events happen. Our meetings are on the second Thursday of each month at St. Pete’s at 6 P-M. Please consider this an invitation to attend, your input and ideas are important to us!