Today it seems that we are all so into our own thoughts and concerns that we forget we are no different than our neighbor whether it be next door or the next Town. Every community has it's problems, whether affluent or financially strapped, regardless of your politics or religion we all face concerns about the world we live in, and we all have a neighbor and are a neighbor to someone. Neighbor use to be defined as someone living next to you that you knew, you shared with and you watched over. Someone you would check in on when they were sick or you would accept deliveries for when they weren't home. What happened to that definition of Neighbor?
As most of you know I moved to Cocoa from the Apartments in Holly Hill that I have been managing for the last few years. I moved into a house that had been completely destroyed to it's core by people in the very neighborhood the house is in. Despite the house being destroyed, I still moved into a single room with a working tub and toilet and have turned the house into a bright spot on the block. Just as I have worked to clean and rebuild the house, I have worked to build strong relationships with my neighbors and my neighborhood. One neighbor told me "you are the reason this street looks so good and is being cleaned up." I may have been the spark that was needed for people to see how taking pride in your home can make you filled with a sense of pride, but I didn't do anything other than what I remember doing as a child. I took the time to introduce myself to my neighbor's, I took the time to let them know if I can help them with anything they can ask anytime. Today it's nice to know everyone of us living on this street either know each other or we have reached out to get to know each other.
Broadmoor Acres (that's the subdivision I moved into) was the very first for Cocoa. In 1951 it was the place to live. For me in 2015 Broadmoor Acres is and will be the place to live. I grew tired of seeing people being ripped off and house after house being stripped to its frame. After attending City Council meetings and making my concerns known I decided to organize and host a Neighborhood Watch Community meeting and did just that this past Thursday, October 29, 2015 in my front yard. The City Council , Police Chief, Community Services Director, Code Officer, City Manager all committed to being here. The neighborhood can be a tough room to win over and past efforts to bring the community together resulted in less than a hand full of people showing up but rather than deter me it only fueled my determination to succeed. I designed and printed two side 5x8 postcards and knocked on every one of the 172 doors in the sub division inviting people and telling them I know they want to make this a clean, safe neighborhood to live in again as much as I do.
While some still had reservations about people turning out, I had to believe in what I was doing was the right thing, and that my neighbors felt the same way. As the day approached I must admit I began to wonder if I could get just Ten (10) people to show up. My neighbor's surprised me and we had 62 people show up including a few from the sub division north of us. The event was a success in turnout and in people signing up to work with me and the Cocoa Police and City of Cocoa to make Broadmoor Acres a beautiful, clean, safe place to live, raise a family and grow old.
After I had decided to organize and and host this event I tried to think of ways to bring about a noticeable difference in the community as quickly as possible to give everyone a sense that we can and will succeed together and what would be the way to do that. I identified two areas where I believed we could bring about a noticeable change in the shortest amount of time which would also have a positive result in the neighborhood. The first is by lighting up the community at night. The most economical way to do this would be to install motion sensor dual brite dusk to dawn security lights on the front and back of each house. Lighting up the neighborhood would immediately bring about a change in the foot traffic through all hours of the night and people going through residents homes and yards. Light has a way of turning back bad. That would mean I would have to figure out how to come up with 342 lights. Certainly there was no way I could buy them so I figured I would write and ask the company that made and sold the ones I use if they would partner with Broadmoor Acres. I haven't heard back from them yet. In preparing for the lights it is clear a plan to put LED Floods in each of them is needed. Again I go back to what I know and what I use. A separate request for partnership was sent out to a company that manufactures LED floods and other bulbs seeking a partnership for a onetime contribution of 684 LED Floods to light up Broadmoor Acres. Am awaiting their response as well.
The second was to install surveillance camera security systems strategically throughout the neighborhood that Police could have real time access too. Again, I was not going to be able to purchase that kind of equipment so I contacted a maker and distributor of home Security Surveillance systems( I will identify that company in an upcoming press release). I mailed both letters Monday October 26, 2015 in the regular USPS First Class Mail. I didn't expect to hear back from either of them before the event and to be honest I didn't expect to hear back for at least a few weeks if at all. Friday morning at approximately 10:30AM my time I was given a truly satisfying gift in a phone call. After having exhausted myself the night before I was still somewhat groggy when I answered the phone. It was a representative from the Security Surveillance system company I had written to. They had literally just received my letter Friday morning and after reading it had decided they WOULD partner with Broadmoor Acres in our effort to make it a great place to live again.
I guess I am sharing this because I think we as a society have forgotten how to be neighbors, I think we have forgotten how to check up on each other, help each other and come together to stand up to and stop those who want to make our communities anything but clean, safe and nice.
It's doesn't take a lot, in most cases "A Spark is All That's Needed," to start a transforming wildfire in your community to make life better for all who live there. We can make all the difference in the world when we work together and we start in our own backyard.