Grace UMC Facilitates Neighborhood Initiative

Follow up meeting
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17
Where: Grace United Methodist Church, 1402 Grape St.

By REV. TRAVIS REAMES

In the process of a ministry study, Grace United Methodist Church at North 14th and Grape streets recently hosted a neighborhood betterment colloquial focused on community interaction with representatives of the City of Abilene.

Travis Reames

Some thirty residents of the neighbor bordered by Hickory Street on the east, Amber Avenue on the north, North Ninth Street on the south and Mockingbird Lane on the west met with six Abilene city officials to focus on activities that the congregations in the neighborhood might host toward fostering positive neighboring.   

The convenor of the meeting, the Rev. Travis Reames, advertised the meeting as an interaction of individual citizens living in or owning property in the north Abilene area with programs or agencies focused on improving the neighborhood. Promising the city that the meeting would look past such issues as potholes, policing, and complaints, Rev. Reames urged discussion on self-empowering associations within the neighborhood.   

After a minimum of such complaints, the meeting discussion focused on setting up a “crime watch” or “neighborhood watch” association. The convening  congregations present asked about the helpfulness of community suppers and game nights or entertainment events, a community garden and the like, but most the of discussion centered on the formation of some sort of neighborhood association focused on safety and security issues. 

City officials volunteered connections to getting abandoned houses on a demolition or renovation program and better governing late -night speeding on Grape Street and other streets in the area. Some of the discussion lifted up homeless persons issues, but the large number of boarded up residences in the area dominated discussion.  

A second meeting was set for May 17th at 7 p.m. at the church located at 1402 Grape Street. In evaluating the gathering, Rev. Reames expressed the hope that community interaction on the subject of better living might rise above safety and security issues into the realm of neighborhood pride and self-help.    

Travis Reames is pastor of Grace United Methodist Church 

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