A group of Hammond residents are planing a party in hope of building community spirit and improving the streets they call home.
With help from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services and Thrifty Foods, they are holding a get-together Saturday, July 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Hammond Community Centre.
Hammond resident Leanne Koehn says a group of residents were inspired by renowned University of Washington teacher and community activist Jim Diers and his workshop entitled Neighbour Power.
“Hammond is a great place to live, and there is so much potential for beautification projects and community building around common interests,” says Koehn.
She said one of the ways they hope to bring the community together is to use Diers’ concept of “Idea Boards” at the party, where neighbours can share their vision for improvements to the surrounding area.
Longtime Hammond resident Katie Stein Sather, who owns a home listed in Maple Ridge’s heritage inventory, says she would like to see cycling and walking trails improved in the region, as well as an emphasis on waterfront access.
“There used to be a municipal wharf on Wharf Street, but now there is no public access in Hammond,” notes Sather.
Koehn says she’s hoping the party can bring the community together so issues like heritage preservation, beautification projects, and ways to develop the under utilized Hammond Community Centre into a neighbourhood hub. She says a concept of starting a Hammond business improvement association may also spur more community involvement.
“People are coming up with some great ideas on how to make the community better,” says Koehn. “We’re talking about collecting designs and painting the block house building next to the outdoor pool as our first project.”
She says the biggest challenge has been making residents of Hammond aware of their goals. The small group have been putting up posters and hand-delivering flyers.
“It’s a bit intimidating, as we are just starting out and don’t know many people outside of our neighbourhood, but that’s kind of the point of the party,” muses Koehn, “To realize that the walls of intimidation can be breached by simply saying hello and finding a connection.”
While community improvement is the long-term goal of the party, the event will be a chance for some immediate gratification.
“Everyone is welcome to bring games and sports equipment to share – if it’s a nice day, we’ll take over the fields,” says Koehn, “And if there’s liquid sunshine the Hammond Community Centre is a great indoor space.”