Monday, January 6, 2014

Love Thy Neighborhood

I've been part of my neighborhood association 1 2 for the past four or so years. It's called the University Heights Association which is bounded by Central and Garfield from north to south, and from Girard to Yale from east to west. We needed content for our upcoming newsletter, so I figured I'd write an article about the last neighborhood cleanup, and after party, and include the article in my blog.

My favorite activities to do with the association are the neighborhood cleanups. During these, a number of neighbors walk through the streets and the alleyways to pick up gigantic old couches, refrigerators, mattresses, tires, chunks of concrete and other trash that students, bums, and other miscreants dump in our neighborhood. We usually have between one and three pickup truck crews roaming around, supporting the walking crews to haul away larger items. The cleanups occur after the semester ends in order to allow students time to move out.

Normally, the city provides a garbage truck for us to use as a place to get rid of the trash. This year, the city said they would not be providing this service (despite the high gross receipts tax, property taxes, and ever increasing bond issues, in Albuquerque.) So we used a portion of our association budget to rent a gigantic dumpster.

 The 80-foot dumpster was full by the end of the clean up. 

Three board members (I/ Brian Stinar, Augustine "Gus" Grace, and Andy Mattern) were part of a sub committee that wanted to organize a party after the neighborhood cleanup. Part of the condition everyone on the board agreed to for me accepting the Vice-President-ship was that the association would throw (at least) one fun party during my term. We wanted to make the after cleanup party super fun.

Gus owns the property between the church on Silver and Yale and Silver and Harvard. He envisioned food trucks, music, and beer. We made it happen. It was a complete success, with between 100 and 200 people attending.

I was in charge of providing home brew beer. We had about 17 gallons of beer bottled that I brewed. This, and minor logistical help were my main contributions. The amount of beer was perfect - we had about four bottles left over, and the donations covered the expenses and a few visits to food trucks.

 During the event we signed up new members to the neighborhood association.

I think the event was a complete success. My friend Efrain Grijalva coined the term "Love Thy Neighbrhood" when he helped with a previous year's cleanup. Thanks to my girlfriend, Lyric Hammonds for helping me give away beer at the event, Andy and Gus for helping organize the party, and the rest of the association for putting together the cleanup, and cleaning up tons of junk.

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