Blog Archives

Phoenix Graffiti Busters and Good Neighbor programs win national recognition

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department’s “Graffiti Busters” program took the top prize in the Physical Revitalization & Beautification category of the 2009 Best Neighborhood Program Awards, at the Neighborhoods, USA conference in Spokane, WA.  The department’s “Good Neighbor” program placed third in the Social Revitalization/ Neighborliness category.  “We are proud of the impact these two programs have had on the lives of the residents of Phoenix,” said Jerome Miller, director, Neighborhood Services.  “This national recognition honors the cooperative spirit of Neighborhood Services staff and residents, working together to make Phoenix the best it can be.”

The “Graffiti Busters” program was created as a partnership between department staff and residents to identify and remove graffiti as fast as it appears.  Last year, department staff removed more than 52,000 tagged sites.  Staff also trained residents and provided the tools necessary to help in the fight.  The “Good Neighbor” program was created to inspire residents to participate in neighborhood improvement projects through a series of educational & self-awareness oriented classes and workshops.

Neighborhoods, USA is a national nonprofit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations.  For more information, click here.

Phoenix’s Garfield neighborhood subject of premiere video, Nov. 13

Garfield street with downtown Phoenix in background

The public is invited to attend the premiere viewing of the video, “Civic Engagement & Revitalization in Phoenix’s Garfield Neighborhood.”

  • Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
  • Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Place: Alwun House, 1912 bungalow at 1204 E. Roosevelt
  • Free; light refreshments will be served

A two year project by Marilyn Dantico, professor of Political Science at ASU, the video documents a small fragment of Garfield residents’ 22 years of concerted effort to drive its neighborhood revitalization and community building efforts.  Both the Department of Political Science and School of Geographical Sciences collaborated on this project, funded by the Arizona Humanities Council.  Dr. Dantico and students attempted to capture the tenacity of residents that created today’s safer and rehabilitated downtown historic neighborhood.  As a result of these resident efforts, Garfield was selected as Arizona’s first U.S. Department of Justice “Weed and Seed” site.  This program reinforced existing collaborative strategies with the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department and Police Department.

In between vintage housing footage, are spliced the remarks by Terry Goddard (former Mayor, current Arizona Attorney General), Jerome Miller (Director Neighborhood Services Department), Kate Krietor (Deputy NSD Director), and Roberto Frietz (Garfield Neighborhood Initiative Area Team Leader).  For more information about the project, click here.

Learn how to “green” your home and Phoenix neighborhood

[Source: City of Phoenix] — Have you ever wondered what happens to your garbage once it’s picked up by the city?  Do you know what kind of trees to plant at your home and where? These and other environmental-related questions will be addressed to provide residents practical tips to “green” their homes and neighborhood during a free summit from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 20, at the 27th Avenue Solid Waste Facility, 3060 S. 27th Ave.

Other items that will be reviewed include recycling, household waste, urban forestry, water conservation, and energy conservation.

The summit is coordinated by the Neighborhood Services Department, with staff participation from the Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Water Services departments, and Office of Environmental Programs.  “There are so many simple and easy things people can do in and around their homes to help the environment and help themselves,” said Jerome Miller, Neighborhood Services director.  “Hopefully, this summit will inspire them to take productive action.”  For more information or to register, call 602-534-8444.

Get the lead out Phoenix!

Phoenix residents are encouraged to take advantage of the city’s free, portable vacuum cleaners with special filters designed to remove lead particles in dust, paint, and other home surfaces.   Many homes built before 1978 are at risk of containing lead based paint, so residents are urged to conduct a thorough clean-up after any remodeling or construction.

The Neighborhood Services Department recently obtained three HEPA Vacs through its Lead Hazard Control Program.  There are no income requirements, and residents can borrow the devices for up to a week, depending on demand.  “The only cost to Phoenix residents to use these devices is the desire to eliminate lead hazards from their homes and ultimately provide a safe, healthy environment for their family and friends,” said Jerome Miller, Neighborhood Services director.

More than 1,000 homes have been remediated from lead hazards since the lead program was launched in 1996.  The program aims at preventing childhood lead poisoning.  To reserve a HEPA Vac, call 602-495-0700 or visit

Neighborhood complaints hit record in Phoenix

[Source: Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix had a record number of complaints about weeds, junked cars, and other violations of city law in the past fiscal year.  Officials took in 57,989 complaints from residents about their neighbors, an increase of 6% from the previous year.  The city allows anonymous callers to lodge complaints.  The city responds with a letter to the subject of the complaint, then sends an inspector to visit.  Sam McAllen of the city’s Neighborhood Services Department said 85% of the complaints are resolved before the inspector makes a second visit.  The number of cases was a 49% jump from five years ago.

Jerome Miller, director of Neighborhood Services, said aging neighborhoods are harder to maintain, and that the poor economy may have turned people’s attention and money away from exterior maintenance to more important matters such as food and medicine.  Inspectors find that complaints come in from all over town.  No neighborhood is exempt from the storage buildings constructed without permits, the grass that has grown too high, the junker in the front yard or broken-down fencing.  But Miller said some of the older and poorer parts of town have bigger challenges than newer and wealthier neighborhoods.  “There are different needs in different neighborhoods,” Miller said, adding that many newer areas of the city are governed by homeowners associations, which are even stricter than the city’s rules.

And a tough economy does not help.  “When your choice is repainting your house or buying your medicine, the house might just have to wait.”  But generally, the calls follow efforts by the department to let people know about so-called code violations and what they can do about them.  “Current policy is that we work from a complaint-based system,” Miller said.  “We get the information into the system and take care of the cases.”  Residents need to take the lead when an entire area shows signs of deterioration.  When that happens, he said, the city can respond with various resources, including police.  [Note: To report blight in your neighborhood, call 602-262-7844, send an e-mail, or complete an online form.]