The Brookdale Citizens’ Association is an association of residents organized to promote the general interests of its members. Founded in 1958, the Association now encompasses the communities of Brookdale North & South, Orchardale, and Wohlshire. Elected officers include the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and four Vice Presidents, one each from Brookdale North, Brookdale South, Orchardale, and Wohlshire. Residents pay annual dues of $40 on a voluntary basis. An annual meeting is held in the spring and more often as needed. The Association distributes the Directory, a compilation of resident names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers; maintains a Yahoo group and website; publishes a newsletter, the Bugle, three times a year; monitors and responds to development issues; and sponsors a number of social events each year, including Halloween parties, July 4 parades, and block parties. Signs are posted in the community and notices emailed to convey information about upcoming events.
Vice Presidents: Vice Presidents are charged with conveying information and materials to block captains for dissemination and with communicating neighborhood concerns to the Executive Committee. They also carry out a variety of specific tasks, as needed, such as contributing articles to the Bugle, organizing welcome baskets for new residents, and helping to organize neighborhood events.
Block Captains: Vice Presidents also find and appoint block captains as area liaison representatives to assist in their areas. In addition to such duties as delivering the Bugle and posting signs to inform residents of upcoming events, block captains serve as “meeters and greeters,” welcoming new residents to the neighborhood, acquainting them with the Association, and forwarding information for inclusion in the directory. Block captains also convey the concerns of the residents to the area Vice President, who then brings these issues to the attention of the Executive Committee.
What does the Association do?
According to its constitution, the object of the Association is to “stimulate interest in and devise and implement ways and means for promotion of civic and general welfare” in these communities and to promote the best interests of the communities through cooperation with county and state officials and with other civic associations “of like purposes.” The Association goes about fulfilling these responsibilities in a variety of ways.
The Association holds an annual meeting each May to provide a forum in which residents can raise and discuss issues of general concern with each other and with representatives of local government. At a time when development in the Friendship Heights area is booming, the ability to work with other local civic groups is of particular importance, so that our neighborhood needs are not disregarded in the planning process. The President of the Association appoints delegates to such groups, including the Citizens’ Coordinating Committee of Friendship Heights.
The Association monitors and responds to commercial and residential development issues in Brookdale as deemed appropriate by the executive committee and Association membership. This is a very important function of the Association due to our proximity to the Friendship Heights and Westbard commercial districts and Metro, which makes Brookdale very attractive to commercial development interests.
Safety issues addressed by the Association have included block meetings to discuss local crime problems. A liaison officer from the Montgomery County Police Department is available to attend these meetings and talk with residents about crime-prevention measures. The Association has worked with its corporate neighbors to improve safety conditions in the Friendship Heights area and promotes crime awareness through updated local crime reports on its website (www.brookdalenews.org) and was recently instrumental in obtaining better lighting along Western Avenue and within the Brookdale Community to help deter crimes against pedestrians in the area. Finally, the Association is attuned to issues of traffic safety and has worked on issues such as obstruction of view, parking restrictions, street signs, and street crossing signals.
To stimulate interest in civic welfare and foster a sense of community, the Association supports community activities initiated by the residents. Examples include an annual Halloween party and Fourth of July parade, both of which are held at Brookdale Park and are great fun for the kids and families who participate. Other examples include block parties and block meetings, the latter of which can be called when residents need to discuss issues of concern to those in the immediate vicinity. The Association solicits volunteers to serve at the larger events, notifies residents via fliers and posted notices, and underwrites the cost of snacks and beverages at the events.
The Association works with the Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that our parks are well-maintained and that amenities such as playground equipment are upgraded when possible. Enhancing the environmental integrity and esthetic appeal of our neighborhood is important, too, so the Association has encouraged residents to avail themselves of county programs which provide street trees, planted by the county on county-owned frontage along our streets.