Cedar Park: Local Group Unifies Community With Jazz Concerts
Cedar Park Neighbors, established in 1960, is a non-partisan association run by volunteers living in the neighborhood. It’s comprised of diverse businesses and households based in Cedar Park.
The association aims to nurture relationships involved in the neighborhood, to advocate for and promote the general well-being of Cedar Park, provide a forum that presents information about the community, respond to neighborhood concerns, and more importantly, promote community development.
Like all associations, there is a board of directors. Cedar Park Neighbors is governed by five officers and up to 16 directors-at-large that are elected by the general membership at a meeting held every April. In order to be an officer, one must be a member in good standing of Cedar Park Neighbors and live within the boundaries of Cedar Park.
After ending her fourth term as president of Cedar Park Neighbors, Monica Allison stepped down and became first vice president of the association. Michael Froehlich is the current president and is excited to continue to work with the committee to improve Cedar Park for the entire community.
Cedar Park Neighbors is a social tool which brings people in the community together. Organizing and holding events during the months enables families, friends and neighbors to bond and enjoy one another’s company.
One resident, Susanna Gilbertson, 36, said she enjoys having a group of friends to talk to about neighborhood concerns. It can be reassuring to find others are just as devoted as they are.
Every Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cedar Park Neighbors hosts Friday Night Jazz, a free event featuring live performances by varying jazz bands at Cedar Park, located at 49th St. and Baltimore Ave. In the past, artists such as Dr. Ketchup, Rich Tucker and the Universal Concept, Tony “Stickman” Wyatt Crew and The Budesa Brothers & Lucky Thompson have performed and provided smooth jams for residents of all ages..
In addition to the residents, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah made special appearances at an even earlier this month. Blackwell enthused the crowd with a brief speech about Cedar Park’s admirable community.
“We set the model for our city,” Blackwell said. “We have music in all our parks.”
Cedar Park Neighbors is dedicated to not only preserving the beauty of the park but also foundations in the neighborhood.
There are garden tenders that cultivate Cedar Park’s flower beds, shrubs and grass for families and friends to enjoy. On Saturdays, Cedar Park Neighbors hosts events that encourage residents to help clean-up in the park from 10 a.m. to noon by mulching, weeding, trimming, pruning roses and waking up flower gardens.
Gilbertson said Cedar Park is beautiful and she said she appreciates the association maintains its charm.
The association also acts as the voice of the neighborhood and supports a marketplace of ideas within the community.
Cedar Park Neighbors encourages and respects every resident’s input and opinion on various matters. Within the association there is a zoning committee that informs and assists local residents and businesses in addressing zoning issues. It is the committee’s responsibility to be the vehicle for monitoring and responding to zoning changes within Cedar Park.
In 1988, Cedar Park Neighbors Scholarship Committee was founded to recognize and support young adults who live in the neighborhood and are committed to pursuing higher education. By doing so, the committee provides the individual with both financial support and mentorship to ensure their success. An annual fundraiser held each spring raises approximately $8,000 per year with the help from contributing neighbors.
This neighborhood association is far more than hands helping hands; it is a family. The small group of volunteers contributes and dedicates a significant amount of time catering to the needs of others in the community. The residents of Cedar Park pride themselves on maintaining such image and do so by keeping the neighborhood clean.
“[I like] that the organization reaches out to everyone and understands the diversity of the neighborhood and that it combines residential living spaces with commercial space,” Beverly Rouse, 65, a Cedar Park neighbor, said of the group.
Along Baltimore Avenue, the businesses are owned by local residents. Proving how community-oriented they are, neighbors discourage large franchises. Cedar Park Neighbors strives to preserve the authenticity of the businesses that are a reflection of the Cedar Park community.