Neighborhood Associations host social activities for neighbors
Posted on 04/05/2017
Neighborhood associations aren’t just all work and no play. There’s typically a board member who’s in charge of social events in the neighborhood. Having summer parties and holiday events build a greater sense of community. People get to know their neighbors – not just those who live next door but those who are several blocks over or in a separate condo building.

“We don’t want to be a neighborhood where people just drive into their garage, shut the door and you don’t see them again,” said Dan Wegienka, president of Pheasant Hills Homeowners’ Association.

“When you’re social,” Wegienka said, “people aren’t as reluctant to volunteer because they know their neighbors better and are more inclined to help.” As a case in point, they held a get-together at the Northville Sports Den in the fall and 50 people showed up. Of those who attended, two signed up to be on the board.

He recalled that a home caught on fire in Fall 2016 and the whole house will have to be torn down due to smoke and water damage. “People chipped in and contributed to the Northville Community Foundation. They gave the family a check to help cover the costs that insurance didn’t cover.”

Social events seek to draw all ages

One Saturday a month, from September through April, neighbors in Northville Estates gather at someone’s home in the subdivision to play Euchre. There’s typically four tables of four. Each month, 10 to 15 neighbors attend the First Friday event in downtown Northville. They meet at a local eatery, such as North Center Brewing, Northville Sports Den, and Red Dot coffee shop, and spend an hour together before heading to the galleries, concerts and retail stores.

Neighborhood garage sales, such as the one held annually in Northville Estates, not only sell used goods but foster friendship and fun.

In September, Northville Estates holds its annual picnic in someone’s backyard. The neighborhood has a country feel to it, without curbs or sidewalks. The homes are on heavily treed, half-acre lots. With few fences, the yards run together like a lush green landscape.

At the picnic, rented tables and chairs are assembled to seat about 100 people. Kids have a crafts table and jump around in a bounce house. Guests nosh on burgers and hot dogs and the rest is a feast of 30 to 40 pot luck dishes. The association allocates $800 for the annual event, now in its fourth year.

Chuck Murdock, a retired engineer, heads the Northville Estates Homeowners’ Association, serves on the Northville Youth Assistance Commission, the Historic District Commission, and is an active volunteer with the library, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Friends of Maybury. He likes the small-town feel of Northville and does his part to keep it that way. His wife Andrea is also very active in town.

Greeting new neighbors

Abbey Knoll residents, through the association, make a special effort to welcome new neighbors by giving them a directory and a gift card to a local establishment.

Some Abbey Knoll residents organize neighborhood parties in the winter and block parties in the summer. “It’s good to reach out and get the know the neighbors,” said Bob Krestel, immediate past president of the Abbey Knoll Homeowner’s Association. “We used to do a strolling dinner around Christmas time, but there’s not much interest anymore.

Krestel likes his neighborhood so much that when he moved out of state, he and his wife knew they wanted to buy again in the subdivision when they returned.

“We think it’s a wonderful community. We’ve got good schools. It’s safe. And we like the quaint downtown. There’s a lot of walkers in our neighborhood and many walk to downtown.”

Easter egg hunts and pool parties

In the Lexington Commons Association, there is an Easter egg hunt this weekend where eggs are hidden in the commons park. It brings together the two condo associations (north and south) and the homeowners’ portion of the neighborhood.

“It’s a nice, family friendly neighborhood. A lot of neighbors are friends. Sometimes they have a progressive dinner,” said Todd Farmer, Lexington Commons HOA president.

Farmer likes living in Northville, “What is there not to love? I’m so happy to be here. Everybody is so friendly and nice when you walk around downtown. It’s a great place for the family.”

Neighboring Lexington Condo Homes Association holds an annual party, in addition to other social events. For the past five to six years, they have had a pool party in July or August.

Many of the condos back up against the woods or the Randolph drain, a narrow river that cuts through the property, which provides a scenic setting for outdoor events.

When neighbors work together on issues that matter to their households and also take the time to socialize, it creates a closer-knit community, which is what many residents like about living in Northville.