Author: hkna

President’s Letter – January 2020

Happy 2020! I’d like to start off by saying thank you for giving me the chance to serve as president of Historic Kenwood for one more year. As I always say, Kenwood is very special to me, a friendly and inclusive place that has truly become home. I’m especially excited for this year because 2020 is a very significant year; it marks the 30th anniversary of our neighborhood association. Interestingly enough, 2020 also is the Grand Central District’s 20th anniversary, so stay tuned for some extra special and fun events throughout the year as we celebrate these two milestones in conjunction with our regularly-scheduled events.

I’d like to welcome back returning officers Sara-Ellen Burnett as vice president, MJ Baker as secretary, Kay Aude as treasurer, and Darrel Gordon, Betty Smith, and Frank Clemente as board members. New to our team this year are Nanette Davis, who was in charge of securing food for our general meetings last year, and David Foote, who is a longtime helper for Historic Kenwood and also currently serves as the Executive Director of the Grand Central District. We have a really strong group in place again and I’m excited for this year!

Our first speaker to open up the new year is Mayor Rick Kriseman, who will update us on the current happenings in the City as well as future plans. Please note the date change for this meeting, as it falls on Thursday the 2nd since the first Wednesday is New Year’s Day. After our first porch party of the year on the 10th, join us for our family-friendly Kenwood Kidz gathering in Seminole Park, where kids will get to participate in some fun activities to celebrate a new year. And watch out for February, when we really ramp up with our Dining for Art series. Stay tuned for more info on that. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and I’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year from your HKNA board.

See you all on the 2nd!

30th Year Anniversary

HKNA 30th Year Anniversary! As you walk through our amazing neighborhood and look at all the restored bungalows, decorated for the holidays with beautifully landscaped lawns, corners featuring unique street signs adorned with art created by our own Artist Enclave residents – imagine a time when all was not so. While Kenwood never fell to a level of disrepair or lack of investment that made it impossible to bounce back, it was not in the condition it is today. Nearly all the homes were painted white, 40 or more had been boarded up to prevent further vandalism, hundreds of porches had been enclosed, a substantial number had code violations or deferred maintenance issues, and close to 70 percent of the homes were rented out.

Luckily for all of us, a scrappy bunch of neighbors, both new and longtime residents, felt this little place had potential. They got together and convinced the city to implement a program called Operation Commitment. Staff from several city departments came in and identified problems that could quickly be fixed. The Neighborhood Partnership Office worked with residents and began the process of solving these problems.

An association was formed. A president and board were elected and the hard work began. In those days Kenwood events included participating in Drug Marches. Residents escorted by police marched and chanted in the streets to let the drug dealers in the neighborhood know they were being watched and were not welcome anymore. Dumpsters were placed to collect large amounts of trash picked up by volunteers. It wasn’t all hard work; after the clean ups and projects there was always a way to get together and socialize with old and new friends.

So to celebrate all the people and all the hard work and successes of this neighborhood, we are launching a year-long series of events to celebrate 30 years of “how art and architecture transformed a neighborhood.” All our regular events will highlight the history and hard work that everyone has put into making this the best neighborhood anywhere. We will also have several new and fun events to celebrate our great neighborhood. So watch this newsletter, and all our digital outlets to get updates on all the fun events we will be providing!