Reaching Every Corner Of Woodhaven
Woodhaven has a population approaching 30,000. If we were located in Wyoming, we would be the state’s third-largest city.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) so often refers to itself as the neighborhood’s “local civic organization” that it can be easy to forget just how many people live here.
And if you’ve ever had to spend the day walking up and down every block of Woodhaven—as I’ve tried to do a few times—your feet will inform you of just how much ground you’re covering.
In a city as large as New York, even a small neighborhood can be far too large and populous for the execu- tive board of the civic association to handle on its own.
We at the WRBA understand that.
We recognize that our organization is so much more than its leadership, and that without a wide base of involved residents from every corner of our community, we will never be able to serve Woodhaven as effectively as we could.
That is why we have made numerous efforts to reach out to all parts of Woodhaven—and why we will be ramping up that effort even more intensely in the coming year.
A primary example of that outreach is our “block captains” program, which came about in the wake of a snowstorm shortly after Christmas in 2010.
That storm hit us hard, and many of our streets went unplowed for days. We were disappointed with the city’s response, so we decided to do something about it. We brought back block captains—point people throughout the neighborhood who monitor the situation on their blocks and provide updates to the WRBA.
We had not had block captains for years, but Woodhaven was soon reminded of how helpful they were when snow struck again the following month. By providing frequent status reports, our block captains helped the WRBA keep tabs on which streets had been plowed and streamlined the effort to get the city to clear the blocks that had been neglected, rather than plowing the same ones over and over.
We might be enjoying the crisp autumn weather at the moment, but winter is right around the corner, and we want to be prepared. We’re always hoping to recruit block captains, so visit the website below and contact us if you’re interested in becoming one.
Another example of our neighborhood wide outreach effort has been our graffiti clean-up program. Our members have volunteered their time on numerous occasions to paint over graffiti on mailboxes and firealarm boxes throughout Woodhaven. We have mapped every single mailbox in Woodhaven and are following up frequently to see when they’ve been tagged and when we need to repaint them.
No part of the neighborhood has escaped our attention—if you live in Woodhaven, we’ve been on your block several times to paint over graffiti.
In 2013, we hope to host town halls in more locations throughout the neighborhood so nearby residents who wouldn’t otherwise come to our meetings might decide to show up.
And this year, we will continue to build our efforts to transcend language barriers and reach all Woodhaven residents, regardless of their mother tongue. This year, the WRBA issued a press release in Spanish for the first time. And last month, we distributed 500 bilingual flyers to inform residents about our public forum on the future of the inactive Rockaway Branch railroad tracks that run along 98th Street.
Woodhaven might be just a neighborhood, but to do a good job serving everyone in it—regardless of where they live or what language they speak —we need help. The WRBA’s leadership can’t do it on its own. Please join us.
Editor’s note: Blenkinsopp is a member of Community Board 9 and director of communications for the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. For more information on the WRBA, visit www.woodhaven-nyc.org.