Tuesday night, I had the privilege attending the first meeting of the reorganized Heights-Avenues Neighborhood Association. This association expands on the previous Emerson-Pearl Neighborhood Association and represents the interests of residents living between N. 25th Avenue to Hutchinson, from Hardy Street to West 4th Street.
The turnout was amazing. It probably trumped any neighborhood association meeting I've attended thus far. Even better was the fact that the turnout was very diverse in terms of race and owner/renter. Monica Hayes, professor of theater at Southern Miss, was elected president of the neighborhood association.
Hopefully, the momentum of this new effort in the North Avenues will continue to grow. Neighborhood associations have experienced a renaissance in the last few years thanks to the efforts of Ms. Maxine Coleman, who works for the city of Hattiesburg, as well as the individual city councilmen. Neighborhood associations are definitely a competitive advantage for the city, especially when residents take ownership over the initiative.