By NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo’s challenges have been discussed and debated over the last couple of years, and at the heart of the conversation has been the importance of stable, safe and attractive neighborhoods.
The city has lots of those, and the critical challenge is to keep them all that way – to make Tupelo a city where all the neighborhoods are “good” neighborhoods, as Mayor Jack Reed Jr. likes to say.
The city’s stepped-up code enforcement and substantial investment in cleaning up blighted properties are positive steps in ensuring continued stability in strong neighborhoods and revitalizing those that have seen better days. But it’s at the grassroots – where neighbors meet neighbors – that neighborhood strength and vitality are developed and maintained.
That’s what Tuesday night’s “Tupelo Night Out” aims to emphasize. When neighbors get to know each other and work together for the betterment of the areas in which they live, good things happen.
Organized events are taking place from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. in 15 neighborhoods, some of which have formal neighborhood associations and some of which don’t. See the list of locations with the story on today’s front page.
But even those Tupelo residents whose neighborhoods aren’t having an organized gathering can take the opportunity to knock on a neighbor’s door and say hello.
With all the recent discussion about what Tupelo must do to maintain its vitality, the city’s wealth of positive attributes can get overshadowed. Tupelo is a city with amenities that many larger cities don’t have, yet it maintains a small-town, neighborly feel. Lose that, and Tupelo will lose a part of what makes it a unique place to live.
Strong neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong city. Ultimately, a city is really just a collection of neighborhoods, and it’s no stronger than the weakest among them.
If people feel good about their neighborhood, they’re much more likely to feel good about their city as a whole. Neighborhoods where people know each other, say hello, help each other out and come together when collective action is needed are far more likely to be safe, secure and pleasant places to live than where neighbors isolate themselves from one another.
Building neighborhood unity and neighborly affinity isn’t an event, of course. It’s a process that must be intentional and ongoing.
But events like “Tupelo Night Out” provide an opportunity to underscore the shared interests of neighbors and the enjoyment and satisfaction that can come when we know those we live among better.