Yakima plans to start new neighborhood associations

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Cities have long known that when neighbors look out for neighbors, everybody's safer. And now Yakima is looking to build off that concept to improve the actual look of our community.

Staying active, getting involved, and making a difference. Jane Berghoff is part of the Barge-Chestnut Neighborhood Association. Jane said it's been an effective way to keep her neighborhood safe.

"It's a great way to know your neighbors," said Jane. "You know what to watch for. You know if someone in the neighborhood doesn't belong."

Yakima is looking to build off successes that have been seen in neighborhoods like Barge-Chestnut. It's looked to create what's called a Repair and Care Service program. This would allow neighbors to assist others in a proactive way. Like if a yard is overgrown with weeds, it may be because the homeowner is elderly and can't take care of it.

"We may be attempted to just call it a code violation and send our code compliance officers out there and write them a citation but you know that's not a community friendly way of doing things," said Yakima Community Development Director Steve Osguthorpe.

To kick off the Repair and Care program, Yakima needs to first find neighborhood activists. Then they could set up a structure from there including a roster and schedule.

"I think that'll keep the neighborhoods looking better to tell you the honest truth," said Michael Lingo.

Jane had a neighbor who was recovering from surgery. She said neighbors spent two weeks cleaning her yard.

"Just knowing that you have someone kinda watching over you," said Jane. "It gives you a piece of mind."

It's a new way for neighbors to help keep an eye on their community without waiting for the city to get involved.

Yakima is hoping the Repair and Care Service Program will start within the next six months.