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Newport neighborhood group seeks to decrease crime, increase quality of life

Published: Sun, November 15, 2009 @ 4:15 p.m.

By Elise Mckeown Skolnick

YOUNGSTOWN — Neighbors are coming together to make a difference in the Newport area of the city.

It all started when Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative staff reached out to members of the community, Francine Jeffries said.

Jeffries is president of the organization that was the result of MVOC’s efforts: The Newport Neighborhood Association. The group first met in June.

It turned out that many of the residents were interested in a neighborhood organization.

“That has been the biggest surprise to me. I did not realize how many people in the area really do care about what’s going on,” Jeffries said. “That was the biggest shock I got when I first started going to the meetings. I could not believe the turnout and that everybody felt the same.”

The Newport neighborhood is in the southwest portion of the city. It encompasses the areas around Midlothian Boulevard from Hudson Avenue to Glenwood Avenue and Midlothian to Parkcliff Avenue. Eventually, the association plans to include the area from Parkcliff to Indianola Avenue, as well, Jeffries said.

The group meets monthly and plans a pot-luck dinner Dec. 17.

Such get-togethers are key, Jeffries said.

“The more you have a chance to meet someone, your neighbor, and to put a face with a name, and not just say, ‘Oh, that’s the house next door; say this is Betty that lives next door,’ you tend to be more willing to watch out for that neighbor,” she noted.

The main goal of the association is to reduce crime in the neighborhood, Jeffries said.

To that end, members are pleased with the recent demolition of vacant properties in the Newport area.

They’d like to see as many vacant houses as possible demolished, Jeffries said. The vacant houses give burglars a place to live and store stolen goods in the neighborhood, she said.

The association has 65 active members. They meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Martin Luther Lutheran Church, which is at Clearmount and Hudson avenues, or call Jeffries at (330) 783-0820.

People wanting more information on the group can attend the meeting this week.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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