Neighborhood Connections

Neighborhood associations play a crucial role in fostering community engagement and improving the quality of life in local neighborhoods. Through its Neighborhood Connections program, Lakewood aims to not only better connect communities, but help residents better understand city processes.

Christopher Davis
Neighborhood Connections Program Coordinator
6000 Main St. SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 298-1877
Email: CDavis
To email Chris, add the email handle before @cityoflakewood.us

About
Current Neighborhood Associations
Start a Neighborhood Association

About

About Chris Davis

Growing up a Houston native, Chris Davis moved to Washington to attend Western Washington University. While there, he earned a degree in Environmental Planning and Policy. Chris has a passion for community outreach, volunteer coordination and community mobilization. In the past, Chris worked on creating spaces for youth, educating on STI/HIV and career navigation for homeless youth. In his new role, he is dedicated to hearing and supporting the Lakewood community.

Christopher Davis headshot 2024

About the Neighborhood Connections Program

The Neighborhood Connections Program Coordinator functions as a liaison for neighborhood revitalization. The main focus is to enhance safety and overall quality of life across the city. The program also promotes community understanding of city processes, keeping the public informed and ensuring government transparency. 

The program coordinator seeks to establish collaborative relationships, comprehensively understand challenges, disseminate information, provide technical support and collectively formulate viable solutions for neighborhood revitalization.


Current Neighborhood Associations

  • Lake City Neighborhood Association
    • Meets: Second Thursday of each month
    • Time: 7:00 PM
    • Location: Lake City Fire Station, 8517 Washington Blvd
    • Facebook Page
  • Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association
    • Meets: Second Tuesday of each month
    • Time: 6:30 p.m.
    • Location: Tillicum-American Lake Gardens Community Center (14916 Washington Ave SW) or Manic Meatballs (14815 Union Ave SW)
    • Contact: [email protected]
      253-988-2536
    • Facebook
  • North Lakewood Neighborhood Association 
    • Meets: No meetings scheduled
    • Location: The Adriatic at the Oakbrook (8102 Zircon Drive SW). RSVPs are required for each meeting for planning purposes
    • Contact: [email protected]
    • Facebook
  • Springbrook Community Meetings
    • Meets: Third Thursday of each month
    • Time: 4:30 p.m.
    • Location: Springbrook Connections (5105 Solberg Dr SW #A)
    • Facebook

Start a Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood associations play a crucial role in fostering community engagement and improving the quality of life in local neighborhoods. Here are some key points about their importance:

  • Building Community: Neighborhood associations help neighbors get to know each other and build a sense of community. By organizing events, social activities, and gatherings, they create opportunities for residents to connect and form lasting relationships.
  • Problem Solving: These associations provide a platform for residents to discuss neighborhood concerns and find solutions collaboratively. Whether it’s addressing safety issues, traffic problems, or environmental concerns, neighborhood associations empower residents to work together for positive change.
  • Representation: Neighborhood associations serve as a collective voice for the community. They empower residents to represent their interests when interacting with local officials, government agencies, and other organizations. By advocating for their neighborhood, residents can influence decisions that directly impact their lives.
  • Physical Improvements: Through neighborhood associations, residents can identify areas for improvement within their community. Whether it’s beautifying public spaces, enhancing parks, or addressing infrastructure needs, these associations play a role in making physical enhancements to the neighborhood.
  • Effective Communication: Neighborhood associations facilitate communication between residents and public officials.

Step 1: Brainstorming

In this first phase, the overall bones of an association are developed. Critical questions must be posed and answered. Having a team of individuals, which could later become the first executive board, helping with this process to ease the burden is essential.

The questions that need to be addressed will vary in both type and complexity. Communication with neighbors, the city, and other groups can help answer some of these. Some could require as little as a quick internet search, while others could demand more thorough research. While no list will be all-inclusive for every association, the following list should provide a good starting point:

  • What is the intended scope or goal of the association?
  • Are there already groups or other entities that provide this service (HOAs, other community groups and boards, etc.)?
  • Is there a need?
  • Will these be a continuation of an already developed model and simply redeveloped or started completely from the ground up?
  • What obligations need to be met, legal or otherwise?
  • Will there be dues, or will it be a 501c3 (Nonprofit) and what requirements are associated?
  • What area will be serviced by the association and what will be provided?

Step 2: Contact the Neighborhood Connections Program Coordinator

Reach out to the Neighborhood Connections Program Coordinator (NCPC) at the City of Lakewood to initiate support for the involvement of city departments in Neighborhood Associations. The NCPC will facilitate City of Lakewood engagement by coordinating with Police Department Liaisons, Fire Department Liaisons, and other relevant city officials. Additionally, the NCPC will assist in outreach efforts to enhance community participation and collaboration within the Neighborhood Associations.

Step 3: Develop and plan the specifics of the association

This is probably the most critical and difficult step because it requires the most work. Without a well-developed plan from the beginning, the success of the entire association will likely be reduced.

A few of the critical components that need to be addressed during this phase include:

  • Naming the association
  • Determining when meetings will be held (monthly, bimonthly, time, etc.)
  • Finding and securing a consistent meeting location
  • This can be the hardest part unless the association has the monetary resources to pay for a place to hold meetings.
  • Creating contact information (email address, social media page, phone number, etc.)
  • Developing bylaws
  • Core values
    • Scope of the association
    • Executive board makeup, requirements, and elections
    • Requirements of members
    • Voting process, meeting location and time, meeting format, etc.
  • Planning the first meeting
  • Confirm location and time.
    • Make sure needs are assessed (printouts, computer or other digital media if needed, seating, sign in/contact rosters, etc.)
    • Create a template for meeting agendas and post-meeting minutes and have one established for the first meeting.
    • Developing meeting plans for at least the first several meetings, if not the first year.
    • Plan guest speakers, conversation topics, agenda items, etc.
    • Consider spreading the word via word of mouth, social media, city council meetings, public forums, etc.
    • Digital flyers that can be printed for physical copies and shared via email or social media are recommended.

Step 4: Implementation

The first meeting is critical because it will help all those that attend to determine whether or not it is something they would like to continue doing and share with their friends, families, and neighbors.

Having the support of other city individuals and entities could be helpful. A few keys to success during this first meeting and subsequent meetings include:

  • Being inviting and engaging
  • Having a plan and sticking to it
  • Staying on schedule
  • Keeping it short (withing an hour or so)
  • Allowing for plenty of open forum/discussion time
  • Selling the association and explaining the benefit to the members and what
  • great things are planned
  • Having somebody (hopefully a secretary) document the meeting to prepare minutes

After the meeting, an analysis of what went well and where improvements could be made going forward will be needed. Prepare the post-meeting minutes and send those out. Begin correspondence for receiving feedback and sending out important ongoing information about future meetings and other information.

Step 5: Continued Operation

Going forward, it is important to keep the meetings engaging and relevant to ensure continued support. Bringing in various players from around the community and neighborhood is key. This could include council members, police and fire department personnel, other elected officials, etc. It is also critical to continuously take time to invite new members to help build the membership.