A Neighborhood Garden in Northern Indiana Creates Camaraderie

 

Historic Southside Neighborhood Association was established in 2003

 

John and Carolyn Hertzler • The Good of Goshen

 

 

 

 

He worked in two Goshen travel agencies for several decades and she taught at Waterford Elementary School for 25 years, so both John (GC ‘58) and Carolyn (GC ‘67) Hertzler had been involved in Goshen for a long time.

About 12 years ago, though, when the city of Goshen began looking at organizing formal neighborhood associations as part of a citywide comprehensive plan, the Hertzlers’ involvement escalated.

The Hertzlers helped lead the way in establishing the Historic Southside Neighborhood Association in January 2003. One of their first primary projects was to transform an empty, city-owned lot on the northeast corner of the Plymouth Avenue and Main Street intersection into a colorful, attractive flower garden, featuring benches and a brick walking path.

Carolyn said people used to park their cars in the muddy lot. Now, people tell her that they don’t mind stopping at that stoplight so they can gaze at the vibrant pink, yellow and orange blooms. When the Hertzlers and other volunteers are working on the flowerbeds each spring, drivers often roll down their windows and tell them “Thank you,” give them a thumbs up, or a happy little honk. That project was a key to the Historic Southside Neighborhood Association flourishing.

“We got so many people involved in that, people who never knew each other before,” Carolyn said. “I’ll bet we had 40, 50 people working on that. People got to know each other, had fun together. It was work, but it turned out to sort of be a catalyst for the neighborhood.”

John noted that “it was a wonderful, cooperative venture between the neighborhood association and the city as well. The city did some of the work for us. They installed the irrigation system, hauled dirt. They were very supportive of what we were doing.”

The great relationship with the city continues. As a formal association, “We have more clout with city government if we need something done or have a concern,” John said. They also have a good relationship with the Goshen Police Department officer who regularly patrols their area. He attends their summer picnics and offers bike registration times for kids during certain neighborhood events.

Their newsletters highlight upcoming events, city information, and new residents in the neighborhood. For the 10th anniversary edition, the Hertzlers compiled a list of about 40 activities the neighborhood association had accomplished since its inception, including establishing the neighborhood flower garden, collecting answers to citizens’ questions during their district’s city council race, and having neighborhood leaders attend neighborhood leadership brunches through local neighborhood-development organization, LaCasa, Inc.

“I think we just all look out for each other a little bit more,” said Carolyn. “We’re conscious of things going on in the neighborhood, we know each other. Just a lot more camaraderie.”

John shook his head in agreement. “It just makes living here a little more fun.”

“People got to know each other, have fun together. It was work, but it turned out to sort of be a catalyst for the neighborhood.”

“We’re conscious of things going on in the neighborhood, we know each other.”

Sarah Metzler • The Good of Goshen

“It just makes living here a little more fun.”

 

 

Good of Goshen Photography • Lynne Zehr
Good of Goshen Editor • Marlys Weaver-Stoesz

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