From Shingle Creek to Northport, do neighborhood names make a difference? Brooklyn Center city officials think designating neighborhoods with local names might help connect residents and promote a better sense of community.
The City Council is currently reviewing a plan that would organize Brooklyn Center into 17 specific neighborhoods, which would vary in size from 200 to 1,000 single-family properties, according to Mayor Tim Willson. The proposed neighborhood names are primarily derived from local neighborhood parks or natural focal points in the area, like Shingle Creek.
Jill Dalton has lived in Brooklyn Center for more than 20 years and says her neighborhood, near Firehouse Park at Freeway Boulevard and Bryant, could stand to benefit from an official neighborhood designation.
"There really is very little feel of a cohesiveness in our neighborhood," said Dalton. "I tried to pull together for the first time a National Night Out block party, and it was like pulling teeth to get people to come."
Dalton said she would like to see Brooklyn Center adopt a neighborhood designation plan similar to what the City of Minneapolis has to help connect neighbors to each other and to their city and promote a sense of identity.
"I often talk to people that live in Minneapolis, North Minneapolis, South Minneapolis, and I'm just really quite envious of the cohesiveness that they have in their neighborhoods; I just think it's great," said Dalton.
Mayor Willson says many neighborhood groups have already organized in the city, and Brooklyn Center already has informal names for police patrol areas and watch groups, but an official designation will help build upon a greater sense of community.
"Brooklyn Center takes a lot of pride in what we've accomplished in the last five to six years in building neighborhoods," said Willson. "This is just another continuation of that sense of community."
The City Council will likely vote on the neighborhood designation issue in October.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
September 13, 2012