‘Curb Appeal’ award a stroke of brilliance

Editorial Board • Oct 19, 2015 at 11:03 AM

For the second year in a row a resident of the Park Hill neighborhood gave one of his fellow neighbors $1,000 just for improving their home.

Outstanding. If only more people in the Model City would do something similar, just think about what the community could look like in five to 10 years. Sometimes the little things in life can go a long way and cause a ripple effect.

If you go out and mow your yard, trim your bushes and rake up your leaves, how many times do you see your neighbors doing similar work later in the day or the following day? Plant some flowers, raise a decorative flag from your porch and buy a new set of lawn furniture, and chances are someone in your neighborhood is going to follow suit.

It’s just human nature. People say success breeds success. In this case, improvements breed improvements.

The “Curb Appeal” award was the idea of Park Hill resident Skip Norrell, who created the award last year as a way of preserving and improving the historic neighborhood where he lives. Norrell, a strong advocate for his neighborhood, wanted to essentially challenge his neighbors and reward them accordingly.

The Park Hill neighborhood, commonly called “The 50s” is situated in the Hammond Avenue and Sullivan Street area of downtown and is easily recognizable for its Tudor-style houses. The historic neighborhood dates back to 1915 and was part of the city’s original plan by architect John Nolan.

This year’s winners said the “Curb Appeal” award gave them a real incentive to keep up and improve their house.

Sounds like the award is working. Of course not every homeowner in Park Hill participated in the challenge, and there’s probably some who know little to nothing about it. But more people did this year than last year. Next year, participation will likely be higher.

And what’s best of all, the “Curb Appeal” award was done outside the purview of government. It didn’t take a 12-member committee to come up with this idea or a department of bureaucrats to oversee and manage the process, nor a public hearing and two votes by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

It only took one person with a little bit of money and a good idea to try and make a difference in their neighborhood.

At a recent BMA meeting, Vice Mayor Mike McIntire challenged other neighborhoods to do what Norrell did in Park Hill. Some neighborhoods could offer a larger incentive, others probably less. That doesn’t matter.

All the idea needs is one person, working to set an example for his fellow neighbors and to get the ball rolling. Just imagine the difference it will make.

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