Jul 02, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Three Solvay residents are working to revive the neighborhood watch program first started nearly 10 years ago.
Charles Avenue resident Kim Richardson, who was president of the neighborhood watch when it unofficially disbanded after a gradual decline in participation, said the new program would be a fresh start, not a continuation of the previous program.
She, along with two other Charles Avenue residents, Pat Welch and Lee Marone, got together for the first time about a month ago to begin organizing the new watch.
The trio met with Solvay police Chief Rick Cox, who helped refine their plans.
Cox said when he joined the department in 1998, a lot of hard work was put in by both residents and officers to build a strong neighborhood watch program throughout the village.
For some reason, Cox said, the program started to diminish in many areas until it was eventually only active in the eastern section of the village.
The goal for the new watch is to avoid that from happening a second time.
Although they all reside on Charles Avenue, the women insist they are just getting the ball rolling.
“We’re not in it for us, we’re in it for the people in the village,” Richardson said. “All neighborhoods are affected.”
“We want people to join us,” Welch added.
The group hopes to have residents from every area of the village involved in the watch, as the success of the program depends on the efforts of the residents.
Neighborhood watch is a completely citizen run initiative, separate from the village government or police department, said Cox.
“Our role is supportive,” said Cox of the police department. “We’re not advocating nor will we tolerate anybody taking the law into their own hands.”
One way the department will support the program is through educational initiatives.
Welch said one of the goals of the watch is to introduce residents to officers, in the hopes that residents will be more likely to call the police when necessary.
Such situations are on the rise in the village, residents feel.
“Our neighborhoods have changed,” Welch said, echoing concerns raised by many residents in recent months.
Welch, the only member of the group born and raised in Solvay, offers a perspective of what has changed in the village over many years. But both Richardson, originally from Syracuse, and Marone, a Taunton native, have noticed more transient residents in the last couple of years.
Their concern, shared by many other village residents, was addressed earlier this month when the village board instated a local law that would help curb absentee landlords.
At this stage, the group is looking for help manning the information booth they have planned for the August Summer Festival. For now, they are taking their time to get organized and have answers ready for curious citizens and potential participants.
Meetings are set for the second Wednesday of the month, beginning in September and running through November. There will be a break through the holiday season and meetings will resume in the spring.
Anyone interested in learning more about the neighborhood watch effort can call Richardson at 708-0363.