Taking Back Washington Neighborhood: The People - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Taking Back Washington Neighborhood: The People

By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - Tackling crime issues and taking back a neighborhood, residents in Dubquque's Washington Neighborhood are turning the place they call home around. The historic 55-block, Washington Nneighborhood is Dubuque is getting a facelift.

Thanks to a partnership between Dubuque Bank and Trust and the City of Dubuque the area is getting a physical facelift. Renovating, remodeling and reselling more than 18 new homes and working to increase ownership. But it doesn't stop there, in fact, it starts with the people.

They say its the people that make the place and that couldn't be more true in Washington Neighborhood. What once was a rundown, high crime area is turning around because of people calling for action to take back their neighborhood.

"For one thing it's been an underdog area. It really has been looked down upon from the rest of the city and sometimes even we've been forgotten.," said Theresa Caldwell.

Forgotten, no more, says Caldwell. She grew up here. Eleven years ago she moved back.

"This is my childhood home," Caldwell said.

She bought bought her childhood home and remodeled it.

"This is the house I grew up in and when it came time that I could purchase it, it was the right time," Caldwell said.

She says the place she called home as a child, has changed; for better and for worse.

In 2005 she re-activated the Washington Neighborhood Association; serving as its president. It's the second step to taking ownership of the place she calls home.

"Because we watch out for each other," Caldwell said.

Neighbors watching out for each other is exactly why Stephanie Joyner moved there three years ago, from Chicago.

"I fell in love with it the first time I came to Dubuque," Joyner said.

She wanted a safe place for her kids to learn and grow.

"I saw a lot of fighting in Chicago, a lot of gang banging, drug dealers that type stuff and you don't see that in the Washington Neighborhood," Joyner said.

And while she knows there is crime in the area, she has never personally experienced it. Both Caldwell and Joyner say coming together is what this community needs.

"Caring for each other regardless of race or ethnicity, of culture, this area has always been a type of melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities," Caldwell said.

It's a melting pot that's moving forward and taking back a neighborhood; making it a home.

"It's not where you live, it's how you live," Joyner said.

And the people in Washington Neighborhood, these days are doing what they can to live right. Twice a year they have a neighborhood clean-up, they continue hosting meetings and they just recently opened Orange Park.

People in Dubuque are taking back Washington Neighborhood.

You can view pictures of a newly renovated home on, the complete document plan for Washintong Neighborhood and a tour of the neighborhood park on reporter Lauren Squires' blog.

The Washington Neighborhood Association is having a meeting Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. Speakers include Police Chief Kim Wadding, a representative from the Dubuque Food Pantry and the Mission Health Program.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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