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Anschick’s First Neighborhood Association disbanded in September without a replacement neighborhood association, leaving a group of residents without representation within the community.
These residents live in single-family homes, most occupied by one or two people on average, according to the U.S. Census in 2010. As a working-class area, homes are moderately kept and there is little crime in the area in comparison to other parts of the city.
This neighborhood association consisted of four blocks, with the railroad tracks splitting across two blocks. Located between McKinley Ave. and Prospect Ave., from Maple Ave. to Columbia Ave. banded together to create Anschick’s First Neighborhood Association. During the association’s annual meeting last year, Champaign City Council Member Greg Stock participated in the discussion to improve the area.
“The last two years, I attended their annual meeting and they brought up a few concerns but not very many. The first year they mentioned a house with suspicious activity and increased traffic from Prospect,” Stock said.
Since then, the police increased patrols in the area along Prospect Ave. to ensure the traffic flow remains the same, according to Stock. The individuals living in the home which concerned neighbors are no longer living in the area.
“The only other complaint I can recall is the condition of the streets but that was just taken care of,” Stock said.
Road construction on Columbia Ave. finished September 14, according to the City of Champaign. The repair of asphalt is a larger project in Champaign to fix major issues with roads, some of which have not been repaired in over ten years, according to the Public Works Department of Champaign website.
In the month of September, as the construction was completed, Anschick’s Neighborhood Association’s registration also was due to expire. Neighborhood associations must reregister with the city each year, filing a form and listing residents who plan to participate in the association.
According to the guidelines and restrictions for forming a neighborhood association, a minimum of 10 homes can form a neighborhood association. The maximum number of homes is 50, depending on how many residents reside in each home.
The main purpose to create a neighborhood association, as stated on the application for neighborhood associations, is to “encourage residents to take an active role in organizing their neighborhoods and prioritize neighborhood needs to ensure the best use of City resources through small neighborhood-based projects.” This application can be found on the Neighborhood Services Department of the City of Champaign website.
According to the Neighborhood Services Department, the association originally formed in order to fix the railroad tracks which run through the area. At that time, the tracks were difficult to drive over. Individuals in the neighborhood created Anschick’s First Neighborhood Association to help their area with improvements, such as the repairs to the track and the increased traffic.
“That association chose not to reregister with the city. It is voluntary registration and the person who handed over the group form said that no, they were not interested in being active this year,” said Nina Sibley, Neighborhood Coordinator Administrative Assistant.
Sibley also mentioned the previous leader of the association offered to speak with anyone willing to take over this organization. Due to the disbandment, the city was not able to release the name of the leader for further comment. Thus far, no one else in the area assumed the position.
In their time as a group, Anschick’s First Neighborhood Association also applied for a Neighborhood Watch Sign and the Small Group Grant. In order to apply to be part of a Neighborhood Watch group, the group must apply for signs, up to four. The neighborhood is responsible for the management and upkeep of these signs. Each sign costs $29, paid for by individuals in the neighborhood.
In order to apply for the Neighborhood Small Group Grant, the group must fill out an expense report and pledge volunteer hours, using the supplies bought with the grant money. The idea behind this is to put money back into struggling communities. Now, due to the disbandment of Anschick’s First Neighborhood Association, individuals will not be able to apply for this grant.
Individuals who would be part of the neighborhood association, such as Johnnie Carter and Samuel Pantaleo, chose not to comment on this or why they chose to disband.