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Hagerstown wants citizens to put 'Neighborhoods 1st'

November 10, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The City of Hagerstown wants more people to get involved in Neighborhoods 1st, a program that helps residents improve their neighborhoods by working more closely with public officials.

Cindy Blackstock, city community development coordinator, said eight Neighborhoods 1st groups are active in the city and four more are forming. Neighborhoods 1st groups meet once a month at City Hall to network and learn how the local system of government works.

That knowledge makes it easier for group members to work the system to get the resources they need, she said.

In some cases, residents have used the program to obtain playground and landscaping equipment, Blackstock said. In addition, Neighborhoods 1st groups successfully have lobbied the city to post street signs.

"The city is very much interested and invested in our residents," she said. "We are here to serve. Neighborhoods 1st opens the door."

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To show what Neighborhoods 1st is all about, the organization recently gave children glow-in-the-dark bracelets during trick-or-treat to promote safety, Blackstock said. Another Neighborhoods 1st promotional event, Night of Lights, will occur the evening of Dec. 16.

On that night, she said, the city will ask homeowners to line their sidewalks with luminarias to promote neighborhood cohesion.

"Hopefully, (Night of Lights) will whet the appetite of people to get involved with Neighborhoods 1st," Blackstock said. "The benefits are only positive."

To learn more, call Cindy Blackstock at 301-766-4055 or go to www.hagerstownmd.org.

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