Neighbors come together in Dubuque's Washington Neighborhood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Neighbors come together in Dubuque's Washington Neighborhood

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The 2nd annual Washington Neighborhood Block Party took place in Dubuque Saturday.  About 100 neighbors from the Washington neighborhood worked during the block party to paint a new street mural at the intersection of 16th Street and Washington Street. The block party also featured live music, activities for kids, garden workshops, food vendors and more.

The Washington neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Dubuque. The neighborhood has a condensed layout, which means there are more people per square foot.

Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing said that means the neighborhood could have more crime.

"We do have a lot more calls of service due to the proximity," Dalsing said.

Dalsing worked alongside Washington neighborhood residents in painting a mural for the neighborhood. He said some people in the city have a bad perception of the neighborhood, due to crime.

"It's had some difficult times. The interesting thing about it is when you talk to people that have lived here or have lived here their whole life. They don't see the neighborhood the same as the other people. Most of the time that is the people that don't live here that are making comments and criticisms of other neighborhoods," Dalsing said.

Alberto Luna has lived in the Washington neighborhood for about 3 years. He said during his time, he has seen some positive changes.

"It's just a matter of coming in and bringing in new hard working people. New people brought into the neighborhood to show everyone that we can change," Luna said.

Other Washington neighborhood residents are skeptical. Sharon Carter has lived there her whole life. She said the neighborhood has never changed.

"No, I don't feel safe," Carter said.

Carter said she would like to see a stronger police presence in the neighborhood.

"Some of the crimes wouldn't be happening if there were more cops and more bicycle cops going through the neighborhood," Carter said Saturday.

Carter said she believes activities like the block party are beneficial to the area. She said she hopes the city host more events for the area.

Megan Starr is the director of the Washington Street Neighborhood Development Corporation. She said it is a testament to show that the area has changed through the years.

"We see a lot of kids out today and I think this is a good testament that people are happy to come down here with their families and enjoy the beautiful weather and enjoy the company. I think this event is a good testament to people's attitudes about the neighborhood," Starr said.

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