Skip to page body Home What's New Residents Visitors Businesses City Hall How Do I... About Tempe Get Involved!

2012 Neighborhood Award Winners

Photos from the 2012 Neighborhood Workshop and Awards


This category of the Neighborhood Awards honors residential properties that enhance and improve the community’s appearance. Individuals and neighborhood groups were encouraged to nominate any property or project that provides an outstanding visual contribution to the City of Tempe. This category of the Neighborhood Awards honors residential properties that enhance and improve the community’s appearance. Individuals and neighborhood groups were encouraged to nominate any property or project that provides an outstanding visual contribution to the City of Tempe.


This 1937 home is beautiful and beautifully maintained. The yard already had mature trees and was well shaded. The homeowners used existing features to anchor the design. Two brick walks and rustic concrete irrigation gates were supplemented with river rock and brick borders. A combination of winter rye lawn and specimen plantings creates a lush yet decorous design.

Pheasant Ridge is a neighborhood of less than fifty homes in South Tempe. The original entrance signs and walls were built in the 1980’s. They had deteriorated and gave the appearance of neglect and the signs at the Louis Street entrance were missing completely. Through neighborhood volunteer effort, new, taller walls were built, ceramic tile signs were applied and landscape and gravel were added. 

Pheasant Ridge

Nearly 20 years ago, when Tom and his wife Neil moved into their home in Tempe, the yard had the typical selection of a few cacti and trees sparsely placed with a predominance of gravel. Over the years, Tom has created a lush landscape of desert friendly groundcover and seasonal flowering cacti and succulents.

Tom Z

In the last 25 years, West Howe Street, in the Mitchell Park West neighborhood, has seen many changes. Most of the homes were rentals in bad repair. Gradually private ownership and caring landlords improved their properties with one exception. This house was empty, overgrown with weeds and boarded up after foreclosure.

Along came two young optimists, Ben and Cory. They purchased the house in 2009 which consisted of 4 walls, a partial roof and a bathtub. Their idea was to retain the 50’s look of the neighborhood as much as possible. The landscape is simple with a signature metal art piece. The neighborhood is delighted to welcome the house and its owners. 


Flood irrigation standpipes are all over the Valley as remnants of the way residents used to keep yards green in the brutal desert climate. In some neighborhoods, irrigation remains. In places like Tempe’s historic Maple Ash neighborhood, the standpipes are now more than functional, they’re art.

Each of the four projects detail themes selected by residents under the guidance of collaborative clay artist Nina Solomon: the history of flood irrigation; the large trees and healthy foliage enabled by the irrigation; selected architectural details; and the history of the neighborhood.

Maple Ash Sandpipe


Joanne and John have spent considerable time maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of the alley behind their neighboring homes. They often work together to maintain the alley by pulling weeds, removing discarded items and debris, picking up fallen citrus, filling in ruts and by posting City of Tempe issued “No Dumping” signs. These efforts continue to result in a very clean alley, which has motivated others in the neighborhood to maintain their alleys.

Joanne Johnson

The Tempe City Council created the Neighbor of the Year Awards in 1995 and dedicated them in honor of the contributions and memory of Chuck Malpede. Each honoree receiving these awards carries on this tradition by demonstrating the same commitment to and passion for improving and maintaining the highest quality of life in Tempe's neighborhoods.

Raveen is dedicated to the local community. He donated the land in front of his business to the city for the light rail. He also donates much of his time to the people in the community and provides a place for cultural exchange to take place at the India Plaza 

Mike has lived in Tempe since 1965 and has been the neighbor who is always available to help anyone who needs him. He is concerned about the welfare of his neighbors and visits with anyone who walks by and makes an effort to check on the people who don’t get out to see him. Mike mentored a young boy in the neighborhood who was starting his own lawn service, he helped him fix equipment and guided him in his work. That young man now has a very successful business.

Within a year of Tempe Neighbors Helping neighbors being created, there was an established list of Tempe citizens who could be counted on to participate in neighborhood cleanups.
One such volunteer went beyond mowing yards, pulling weeds and raking leaves. Trish met Marc D., a client of Tempe Neighbors Helping Neighbors, who was nearly incapacitated by medical issues that kept him virtually housebound. Trish began to volunteer to help him with housework, running errands, grocery shopping and his numerous doctors’ appointments. Like many of Tempe Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ clients, Marc had no immediate family. Trish helped him raise money for his ongoing medical care by having garage sales and helping him pay his bills. Her selfless efforts have lasted more than two years, and were truly above and beyond what was expected of a community volunteer.

Tempe Neighbors Helping Neighbors was created in November 2009 by Tempe residents who had been seeing more of their neighbors experience problems maintaining their properties. Due to age, disabilities and other life challenges, homeowners would fall behind on the routine upkeep of their homes. Tempe Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a homeowner’s lifeline for those that need yard cleanups, minor home repairs or help with an overgrown alley. They are truly a homegrown, grassroots, one-of-a-kind institution.

Penny has been an advocate for residents in the Mitchell Park West neighborhood for many years. She is a cheerful, active person and is among the first to volunteer to help with neighborhood events and generously donates refreshments for many of them.

Her actions are always tempered with compassion. After some neighbors expressed alarm at the recurring homeless presence at Mitchell Park, Penny initiated a conversation with one homeless person, who seemed never to move from his site at the ramada. She spoke to him often and learned he did not move because he could not, his legs no longer worked and he was confused. Penny quickly found him help and convinced him to allow transport to a hospital, something others had tried and failed to do. She visited him regularly and was able to locate his out-of-state family, who had lost contact with him. Through the combined efforts of agencies, family, and especially Penny, he was given the benefits he needed to get off the street. Many of the neighbors now look with more tolerance at the homeless in the park thanks to Penny.

Russ is a long-time resident of our wonderful City of Tempe as well as a thirteen year resident of Raintree Estates. Shortly after Russ moved in to Raintree, he recognized a need for our community to be involved in Tempe’s “Neighborhood Association” program. He took the initiative to sign us up and became our chairperson and our fearless leader. Since then, we have flourished into a community of caring neighbors who host numerous social activities, send regular email communications and a newsletter and support several charitable organizations.

He is our reliable neighbor, even though his work schedule keeps him traveling. He continues to keep his pulse on the neighborhood by monitoring our community information and keeping in touch with his neighbors. He is our invisible neighbor because he never seeks glory for himself and always has our back.   Russ is our neighborhood go-to guy. He provides a wise sounding board and a reliable voice of reason and is invaluable as he researches neighborhood issues. Russ is a walking personification of the golden rule and the Raintree neighborhood is better for it.


Chris is the best neighbor ever. He has skills in varied and unexpected areas and is active in the neighborhood association. Chris has lived with wife Becky, dog Emma and assorted birds and tortoises a short block from Casey Moore’s for many years. In that time he has befriended and supported his neighbors in many ways. He has used his metalworking skills to help Maple Ash complete flood irrigation standpipe projects at 9th and Maple and 13th and Ash. He has helped with numerous tree-planting projects, including reforesting his own front yard, digging most of the holes in a single morning for the 36 trees that were planted throughout the neighborhood.

Beyond participation in neighborhood projects, Chris has helped neighbors in numerous ways. He helps neighbors in plumbing fixes to dig trenches and can muster a backhoe or other major implement not found in the typical backyard tool shed. Chris works with a smile and a joke and is very much appreciated by neighbors in Maple Ash and beyond.

Last updated: 3/13/2013 9:31:25 AM