In our opinion: Good neighbors

Last weekend the Union Hill neighborhood shined as an example of something needed citywide – neighbors being neighborly of their own accord. During the second annual Union Hill Block Party Saturday, the people of  Union Hill continued to grow their brand of neighborhood that has realized change from a citizen-up initiative with support from the city of Bremerton.

More than snow cones, music and the warm-day favorite of so many of the children in attendance – the dunk tank – the party had neighbors sitting, eating, walking, singing and playing together in the street.  One Veneta Avenue church member, giving out free hot dogs, bragged to a family that recently moved to Union Hill about a specific success, similar in kind to other blighted communities in transition across the U.S. “We ran off two meth labs,” she proudly said of the mixed income, mixed racial and mixed cultural neighborhood.

The morning following a hugely explosive night in which residents celebrating the Fourth of July sent more than $1,000 in fireworks blasting through the night on the corner of Hewitt and Ninth  Street, saw residents busy in the street cleaning up the mess and debris themselves.

The “cleaning up” of a neighborhood, that some residents still describe as “the hood” continues, but with a significant change in plans from the days when Union Hill was grabbing headlines for its organized efforts.  The forming of a neighborhood association with non profit status and forming of a board to guide it will not happen.

Tenth Street resident Jaime Forsyth, whom Mayor Patty Lent described as the “Mayor of Union Hill,” said something more interesting is happening than an association growing into an organized body that directs and guides. Neighbors, she said, are continuing the work to improve the area from 11th Street to Gregory Way on, and east of the Charleston business district to Warren Avenue.

Neighbors being neighbors without the guiding hand of an organization is a very real possibility.

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