Residents involved with the Good Neighbor Network (GNN) in East Chattanooga have been meeting monthly for some time now. But this year, the Monday evening meetings became a place and a platform to focus on making sure neighborhood cohesion and leadership didn’t fade with the changes coming to the Glass Farm Neighborhood Association.

When it was learned that longstanding residents and dedicated Glass Farm Neighborhood Association leaders, president, Etta Kanipes and Vice President, Verlene Middlebrooke, were looking to step down and in turn dissolve the organization, residents decided it was time to act and looked at the timing as an opportunity to evolve.

For decades the Glass Farm Neighborhood Association has been listed on the City of Chattanooga’s Neighborhood Services long roster of official neighborhood associations. The city department is dedicated to working with Chattanooga’s neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life for ALL residents.  Neighborhood associations are an important piece of that puzzle. “Neighborhood associations are an integral part of making Chattanooga a great place to live, work and play. They play a critical role in the department’s ability to interact with residents city-wide,” is plainly stated on the Neighborhood Services Department’s webpage.

The residents involved in the GNN want to be sure Glass Farm would not be left out of the equation with the departure of Etta and Verlene.  They know keeping Glass Farm Neighborhood Association active and evolving is key to identifying revitalization opportunities, fostering community partnerships, and continually cultivating neighborhood-based leadership.

They want to keep seeing positive resident-lead change like the recent MayFest that was created from scratch by a group of neighbors; and the new pride banners hanging all over Glass Farm now. During MayFest fliers were distributed to attendees and others around the neighborhood letting everyone know that a meeting would be held to discuss electing new officers and what is needed to take Glass Farm Neighborhood Association into the future. Anyone interested was invited to attend, commit to voting, and if willing, step up to serve in a new capacity.

Dozens of concerned residents showed up and as a result, there are now four brand new officers leading the Glass Farm Neighborhood Association until formal elections take plase in January.

Newly elected President, David Raley, said the role of the neighborhood association is just too important right now to let slip away. Which is why he agreed to help steer for the next several months during the transition.

“We will focus on ways to get more people together and get more people involved by creating committees. We’re still thinking about all of it and hope to go through a strategic planning session with the City to identify the committee structures. Examples could be a committee for Beautification or another for Outreach,” David said. David believes consistent outreach is essential especially for the elderly and those who don’t have email so everyone stays informed. Gail McKeel, founding member of Good Neighbor Network, will continue in the role of leading GNN, acting as the social committee for the neighborhood association.

“If we show that kind of momentum I think more people will want to get involved,” he said.  East Chattanooga should be a part of the City’s growth and infrastructure improvements. “That’s why we need a voice. We’re not going away. We need this!”

They even adopted a new mission statement:

To enhance the quality of our neighborhood. Encourage communication, cooperation, friendliness and respect among the residents and business owners. Maintain and increase the spirit of awareness, security, and beauty in our community. Express the interests and opinions of all to our local government. 

We can’t wait to work with this new crop of leaders and look forward to seeing all they can do. Welcome to the future!

David Raley, President
Chip Brown, Vice President
Glenda Welcher, treasurer
Molly Brady, Secretary

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