The end of the year brings an end to a grassroots effort to bring neighbors of a Steubenville subdivision closer together, enjoy social outings, participate in its recycling program and contribute to worthwhile causes.
The Buena Vista Residents group, which organized in 2009, held its final meeting Dec. 12 at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church and its final monthly recycling pickup Dec. 14, the latter of which became harder to pull off with fewer volunteers to assist.
But, says Toni Dear, one of the group's mainstays, not all is a loss in this all-good-things-come-to-an-end kind of story.
At the last meeting, for instance, which was the Christmas party, the group's "change for charity" jar netted $375, which was donated to Urban Mission Ministries.
Beyond that, the group accomplished a lot of what it set out to do, specifically to foster a spirit of know your neighbor, harkening back to the days of what some remember as times of people porch sitting and knowing on a first-name basis who lived here and who lived there. Everybody knew everybody, and looked out for everybody.
The group's monthly meetings often featured a speaker and just as often food, with one meeting being a "Death by Chocolate" event with attendees asked to bring a favorite chocolate dessert. Another occasion called for an Italian covered-dish night.
While the meeting didn't always generate the participation hoped for, the special functions did. Some of these included a neighborhood yard sale; picnics at Jim Wood Park with entertainment; a bonfire with food; a tailgate party; a family game day; and an ice cream social.
The group generated a core gathering of "regulars"" to its meetings, according to Dear, who said they've resolved to still stay in touch and get together for cookouts or coffee now and then.
"Now that we got to know each other pretty well, we have each other's e-mails and phone numbers so we can stay in touch not to mention that we see each other driving down the street daily and will continue a friendly 'flag-down' as we have always done. It's been a good thing, and I think most have enjoyed what we've done," Dear said.
"The attendance at our special functions has been great, and we feel that it has been a great success. A lot of us have met people that we probably still would not know if it weren't for these functions. But, the time has come to move on. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we all feel a little closer to our neighbors. This is a good thing and will continue even without the meetings and such," Dear said.
"It's nice to put a name to the face of the person that has been driving past my house for the last 40 years and waving to me as I sit on my front porch. I contend that Buena Vista has the best neighbors in our town," she added.