Mayor Dean Issues Challenge To Residents - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Mayor Dean Issues Challenge To Residents

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There used to be a time when neighbors knew each other, but times are changing.

"I got a neighbor across the street that I know pretty well and my next door neighbor," Tommy Havell said. "But other than that, like I said they're all in and out."

That's why Mayor Karl Dean is fostering a little healthy competition.

"We obviously want to encourage neighborhoods to form more organizations and to be close knit," Dean said, "because it results in a higher quality of life in Nashville."

His latest initiative is called the Neighborhood Challenge.

"I think this will get people talking to each other more and working together as neighborhoods," he added.

Community leaders gathered at the Music City Center Saturday to learn about various resources they can take back to their communities.

"Years ago we had a couple of break-ins," Cumberland Station Homeowners Association President Ebony Jackson said. "Now that we've started our neighborhood watch you've seen all of that just disappear."

Jackson is among many leaders taking the challenge. Groups are asked to come together and volunteer, organize activities that promote a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

No matter the outcome well-organized communities are often the safest ones.

"How do you recognize a suspicious person if you don't know who lives in your neighborhood," Metro Police Sgt. John Bourque asked. "People are the eyes and ears. We can't be everywhere at once. We don't know what's going on in the community unless they're letting us know that there's an issue so we can address it."

So even though the Neighborhood Challenge is a competition, every community is set to win in the end.

"It's a great feeling to come home and to know your neighbors," Jackson said, "to speak to your neighbors and be polite."

There's an award for the top scoring neighborhoods in each category. Prizes range from getting trees planted to a block party hosted by the Mayor. But first communities have to sign up at http://mayorsneighborhoodchallenge.com/

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