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Neighbors coming together to improve Waterloo

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People in Waterloo are coming together to help improve their neighborhood and their city.

They're putting together a new neighborhood association to be located in area which doesn't currently have one - right in the heart of Waterloo.

The goal is that more people will take pride in their neighborhood and therefore, help to reduce and prevent violence throughout the city.

Those who want to start a neighborhood association in the Liberty Park area say it's part of bringing their community together.

Leaders of other neighborhood associations hope it helps spur more pride in Waterloo neighborhoods.

Mary Potter has been active in the Church Row Neighborhood Association for decades.

She's an advocate for bettering the area.

"We try to never go the city with a complaint, don't go and demand. We go with a problem and ask how can we help solve it and I think that leaves the lines of communication open. People think if you go down there and say this is wrong, this is wrong. You get nowhere," said Mary Potter, Church Row Neighborhood Association President.

Chris Shimp hopes he can effect change through a new neighborhood association where he lives.

He's looking to make the area bounded by West 11th Street, E. Ridgeway Avenue, Baltimore Street and Williston Avenue into the Liberty Park Area Neighborhood Association.

"It creates an avenue for all of our neighbors to communicate things in the neighborhood, events, we plan on using social media, which is a tool I don't think is utilized very good so we plan on using that to get the word out," said Shimp.

The city of Waterloo can help with some of the organizational support for neighborhood associations, like helping create by-laws or helping with outreach.

Though those living in the homes on these streets can't belong to any one neighborhood association right now, Shimp hopes it encourages people living in the area to use the proper channels to have a greater voice, whether it's an issue about local streets, parks, or crime.

"That goes hand in hand. We want to work with this entire city, work with every department from the streets department to the police department and give neighbors an avenue where the can bring information forward that needs to go to the police," said Shimp.

The city lists 33 neighborhood associations but many are inactive, lose members, or don't meet on a regular basis.

The city's Neighborhood Services Department says it works with neighborhoods on all kinds of issues on an ongoing basis.

For more information on Waterloo's neighborhood assocations, click here.

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