Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

More on Old North End quality of life

Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 by No comments yet

The depth of community running through Burlington’s Old North End is bubbling to the surface more and more these days. As discussed previously, a number of residents used Front Porch Forum to spark a discussion about drug dealing, public safety and overall quality of life issues. Some natural community organizers among them, channeled the energy evident on Front Porch Forum and organized a community meeting… held last night.

Here’s a report posted to FPF by State Rep.

Tonight’s forum was well attended and I must admit the discussion left me a bit humbled. While I get frustrated with late night walk-by noise and we’ve been talking about fireworks waking us up late at night all too many in the Old North End live with drug deals, theft and more on a daily basis.

The message from [Police] Chief Schirling was loud and clear: they need our help. Even if you know the police could not make it to your street in time to stop the disturbance they are constantly building cases and monitoring our neighborhoods to figure out where their attention is most needed.

Burlington Police at 658-2700. You might also find their Citizen’s Guide to Reporting Crime helpful.

And John Briggs reported for the Burlington Free Press too…

Crime numbers are down, yet it doesn’t feel that way for many residents in Burlington’s Old North End this summer.

Worries about the quality of life in the neighborhood are nothing new, but the approach to a variety of issues at a well-attended community meeting Tuesday, from drug sales to noise, was more “What can we do?” rather than “How can we get them?” as it was just a few years ago.

That’s great… so good to hear that the tone was mostly positive and working toward solutions. This was our goal when we took the unusual steps of suspending the topic for a couple weeks on one of the FPF Old North End neighborhood forums… it had wandered away from being civil and constructive. Encouraging results.

We’re starting to see something similar happen in Winooski now through Front Porch Forum… civil and constructive conversation among neighbors (and local public officials).

UPDATE: The Free Press published my letter to the editor today… much appreciated…

Old North Enders engaged for solutions

We were thrilled to see that local residents were focused more on “What can we do?” rather than “How can we get them?” at the recent community meeting about crime (“Old North End worried about quality of life,” July 30).

We’re humbled that thousands of neighbors have used to engage in civil and constructive conversation online about these persistent challenges. And we’re also glad that so many people heeded the call to move the conversation offline and engage in face-to-face dialogue at community meetings.

On the whole, we see more people getting to know their neighbors and engaging in solving local problems — a hopeful sign for the Old North End and Burlington.

The writer is the co-founder of

Posted in: Burlington, Citizen Journalism, Community Building, Community Management, Democracy, Front Porch Forum, Good Government, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Media, Neighborhood, social capital, Social Networking, Stories

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