Building and supporting the city's neighborhood groups is an important goal of the City of Ithaca. To support neighborhood groups, the city has a Neighborhood Planning program.
Neighborhood associations are groups of residents who organize and work together to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. The City recognizes the dedication and commitment of these volunteer organizations and their contributions to the strength of the entire city. Some of neighborhoods, like Bryant Park and West Hill, comprise large geographical areas. Others, like the Center Street or Marshall and Utica Street associations, represent only 2 or 3 blocks. Still others, like the Latino Civic Association, represent no single geographical area, but comprise a specific segment of the population.
Some neighborhood associations meet on a regular basis, some monthly, others quarterly, and still others on an annual or semi-annual basis. These groups are often more structured, with block captains, specific committees, and occasional newsletters. Other groups are more loosely organized, meeting only to deal with specific concerns or problems.
The Planning and Economic Development Division maintains a list of city neighborhood associations. It is a good idea to register your group. Have a resident contact our division, even if your group is not currently active, so someone can be informed of activities or programs that may be of interest to your neighborhood.
Neighborhood Associations vs. Neighborhood Watch Groups
A neighborhood watch group consists of residents who often organize block-by-block and focus on prevention of criminal activity. Neighborhood watch groups are typically organized through the Ithaca Police Department. Watch groups often post signs announcing the residents' intentions to look out for each others safety and inform law enforcement officials of suspicious individuals or activities.
A neighborhood association usually has a somewhat broader focus than a watch group, and often includes the social objectives of getting to know one's neighbors. Some of the city's neighborhood associations began as watch groups. Neighborhood associations are listed with the City's Planning and Economic Development Division and can be registered by sending an e-mail request.