CLASSES AIM TO PRESERVE SENSE OF NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNITY - The Buffalo News

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CLASSES AIM TO PRESERVE SENSE OF NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNITY

It will almost be like taking a course on Being a Good Neighbor in one Cheektowaga neighborhood this weekend.

Homeowners will be reminded to keep the lawn mowed, repair the gutters and windows and put the garbage cans out the night before pickup. Renters will get a list of their responsibilities, and where to call if the landlord doesn't live up to his.

Almost a dozen community groups and town government departments are teaming up in an initiative to preserve Cheektowaga's neighborhoods. The coordinated effort will address quality-of-life and crime prevention issues, starting with the Town Park/Pine Hill area, the oldest section of town where some homes were built more than 100 years ago.

"We care about our neighborhood. We want it to be safe," said Stanley Kaznowski III, president of Town Park Homeowners Association who helped coordinate the effort. "Newer people moving in need to gain that respect."

The initiative will get its official start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Pine Hill Elementary School, 1635 E. Delavan Ave., near Harlem Road. That's where organizers and volunteers will meet to distribute information packets to homes in the neighborhood.

The plan is to expand the program to all other parts of the town.

"We have got intense interest from other taxpayer groups," said Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak. "You're going to see this thing grow and mushroom."

"The neighborhoods are getting older. It's getting more and more difficult to maintain the property," Kaznowski said.

During the summer, Kaznowski said the different groups will share information and develop good working relationships. In the fall, the second phase of the program will focus on addressing specific issues, such as landlord licensing, absentee landlords, mortgage default issues, property abandonment and crime prevention.

"What I'm hoping it will accomplish is more awareness with our neighborhoods," said Judy Mietlicki of Walden District Taxpayers.

The other groups involved include Cheektowaga Police and Crime Watch, Pine Hill-Villa Maria Watch Group, Pine Hill Fire Department, Rescue Fire Department, Cheektowaga Central High School, Villa Maria Academy and Villa Maria College.

"We're not out to force people to do something they don't want to do. Everybody has the same goals for a safe, clean neighborhood," Kaznowski said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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