Starting Up Tips

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HOW TO GET STARTED

A neighborhood association is established and managed by residents. All associations should follow provided guidelines to ensure that the group encourages membership and active participation. In Tempe, any neighborhood can form an association.

Starting a Neighborhood Association

1. First, contact Neighborhood Services at 480-350-8234 or neighborhoods@tempe.gov.

2. Talk with your neighbors informally to decide if there are others interested in working together on shared goals. These goals are often defined as better communication with neighbors, beautification of the area, applying for grants, reduction of crime, etc. The City does not establish neighborhood associations, area residents must take the initiative.

3. Establish geographic boundaries and consider a name for your proposed association. For example, an association might be made up of all or just portions of a subdivision. Neighborhood association boundaries should be discussed thoroughly with Neighborhood Services staff as a registered association may already exist. If a boundary conflict arises, the newly forming association will have to negotiate a mutually agreeable boundary with the existing association.

4. Complete the registration form.

5. Set up a neighborhood meeting to explore the concept of forming a neighborhood association with residents in the defined area. A majority of those in attendance have to agree to form an association. Neighborhood Services staff will survey attendees.

6. If there is interest from your neighbors to proceed, usually interim leadership is selected and those individuals can develop bylaws (sample bylaws are in this handbook), and set up future meetings.

7. At future meetings, the residents vote on the bylaws and officers are elected. Once officers are elected, those individuals and the residents are responsible for governance of the association.
Setting up the first meeting:

1. At least one month ahead of the first meeting, contact Neighborhood Services at 480-350-8234 or neighborhoods@tempe.gov to coordinate a tentative date (always choose two options) for the first meeting and the meeting invitation.

2. Invite Neighborhood Services staff to attend this first meeting to explain the program and to conduct a brief neighborhood survey. This introduction will allow your neighbors to understand the program and decide if they wish to create an association; the survey results provide basic data on which to establish your association’s goals. You might also want to invite another neighborhood association leader to speak of his/her experiences or someone from the Police Department or Neighborhood Block Watch. Each presenter should be allotted approximately 15 minutes to keep the meeting moving.

3. Once you have connected with the Neighborhood staff, there are numerous public meeting locations around the City that can be used to hold your neighborhood meeting. A list of meeting locations is provided as Item 7 of the Handbook.

4. Once your meeting date and place are confirmed, be sure to let the Neighborhood Services staff know as well as any other guest speakers you might want to invite.

5. Compose an invitation letter or postcard (see enclosed samples) providing meeting date/time/location and agenda/purpose of gathering.

6. Email, mail or deliver one copy of this text to the Neighborhood staff at least 3 weeks before the meeting date to allow time for duplicating and mailing.

7. Prepare an agenda (Neighborhood staff will reproduce and bring copies to the meeting).

8. Be prepared for the first meeting 
    *Arrive about 15 minutes early to meet with the Neighborhood staff person to set things up. The City will provide sign-in sheets/name tags/ surveys/pencils etc. 
    *Prepare brief introductory remarks – perhaps explain why you are interested in forming a neighborhood association. 
    *If the group is small (under 25), you might have everyone introduce themselves. 
  

Remember, these meetings are meant to be informal. Relax, you set the tone.