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Have a Healthy and Happy Halloween with Safety Guidance

Have a Healthy and Happy Halloween with Safety Guidance

Halloween is coming up, but it will look different than years past because, you know, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnson County Public Health and other experts caution that traditional trick-or-treating is riskier than alternatives; although interactions door-to-door are typically quick, they usually involve close and frequent contact, the conditions that spread SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Often, many kids and families gather at doors or on sidewalks, and the more households they visit, the greater chance that germs are spread and linger. Here are some ways to keep yourself, your kids and your community healthy.

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Learn more at an upcoming Zoom information session.

Saturday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. (register)
Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. (register)
Thursday, Oct. 22, at 12 p.m. (register)

Great Neighborhoods Logo

Good neighbors build great neighborhoods, and great neighborhoods make for a more connected and resilient community. Small acts of kindness can make a big impact on the quality of life on your block.

Choose to connect with a neighbor today – whether they recently moved in or have lived next door for a decade – and our community will be stronger for it. Here are some best practices.

Download a printable copy of Good Neighbor Practices.

a gathering at a Placemates potluck

 

Notice when something seems off. Check on your neighbors and, if needed, reach out to help.

Engage in the community. Volunteer with local organizations, be aware of current city happenings and get to know your neighborhood ambassador (or become an ambassador).

Introduce yourself. Taking the time to say hello makes it much easier to offer or ask for help later. “Hi, I’m Quincy. I just live around the block on Deer Drive. Here’s my number. Feel free to reach out if you need anything.”

Gather for a picnic or drop off a meal.

Help a neighbor with maintenance tasks and errands like mowing, shoveling, or getting groceries – especially in times of crisis.

Be approachable and available. Smile, wave and offer to keep an eye on their house when they are out of town.

Organize a neighborhood activity. Cleaning the neighborhood pond, starting a Little Free Library, or planning a bike ride are opportunities to foster neighborhood pride and connectedness. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get your wheels turning.

Resolve disputes in person and handle conflict with tact. Addressing a concern directly and calmly can create a shared understanding and solution instead of resentment. If that does not work, the city may be able to help.

Show respect. Your neighbors may look or act differently than you. Approach your differences as an opportunity to learn from one another instead of as a threat.

Hi neighbor,

I grew up in a close-knit neighborhood. We went on vacations with many of our neighbors, had what seemed to be never-ending sleepovers, and my parents to this day call those from our cul-de-sac their best friends–even though retirement has spread them across the country.

Everyone helped one another, with after school pickups, building a deck, and pet sitting. And we celebrated together. The Haas’ always held a Fourth of July party on their driveway, parents collaborated on an Easter egg hunt in our park, and my dad strung holiday lights on the huge spruce tree at the entrance of the neighborhood and households contributed a handmade ornament to the decor.

As I got older I realized that this wasn’t the experience of most, but to my core I believe a collaborative, safe and creative neighborhood like the one I had the privilege of growing up in should be an environment everyone can call home.

We do a pretty good job of this as North Libertarians already. Many of you probably settled here because you heard North Liberty is a great place to raise a family. And it is. North Liberty has also long been labeled a bedroom community, with most residents working elsewhere in the ICR area. That’s true, too. But I’m challenging us to take it a step further. Let’s be known for our great neighborhoods.

I want my children to have fond memories of the neighborhood they grew up in, and I bet you want that for your family, too. Being a neighborhood ambassador allows you to play an active role in shaping our community. I’m on your team, and my colleagues and I are excited to help you make your corner of North Liberty as informed, engaged and inclusive as possible.

Jillian Miller
Community Engagement Coordinator

 

Apply to be an Ambassador

What is a Neighborhood Ambassador?

Neighborhood Ambassadors are volunteers passionate about advancing the quality of life for their neighbors. These on-the-ground local leaders partner with the city to help close the information gap between the city and residents, build community through gatherings and projects, and connect neighbors to each other and to community resources. Ambassadors are the eyes, ears, and voices for their corner of North Liberty.

Ideal ambassadors are community minded, value diversity, and recognize the importance of information equity.

How many ambassadors are there?

We expect to recruit between 30 and 40 ambassadors. Ideally, each neighborhood will have between one and three ambassadors, depending on the number of households in the designated area. Additionally, we’ll have an ambassador in each of North Liberty’s senior living facilities and recruit language ambassadors to strengthen the city’s communication with residents who are English language learners.

What exactly do ambassadors do?

Ambassadors help disseminate city news, alerts, and announcements about opportunities to residents in whatever form of communication works best for their neighborhood. While Facebook or Nextdoor posts might do the trick for one neighborhood, flyers or letters might work best for another. The communications department will work with each ambassador to establish the most efficient and effective way to share information with their neighbors.

And communication is a two-way street. We encourage ambassadors to share their neighbors’ individual and collective concerns, ideas, and the good things taking place in their neighborhood with city leadership.

What’s in it for me?

  • A network of 30 to 40 fellow ambassadors. Meet new friends and build connections throughout the city with in-person and virtual ambassador meetings and events
  • Access (if you choose) to personal and community development opportunities, such as implicit bias and emergency response training, at no expense to you
  • Tours of city facilities
  • Be in-the-know of city happenings through ambassador communications
  • Pride in bringing your neighbors closer to one another
  • A greater understanding for how the city works, and the faces behind each department

What is the time commitment?

We recognize that this is a volunteer role and the amount of time you can commit to being an ambassador will fluctuate week to week and month to month. Our asks of you will vary based on community happenings, too, but should be able to be accomplished in an hour per week or less.

For urgent news–like weather or safety alerts–we expect our ambassadors to help us spread the word quickly. An overview of expectations is below. Generally, you can decide how often you’d like to coordinate neighborhood projects or block parties and can work on them whenever fits your schedule. The same goes for sharing non-urgent city news (remember not to leave grass clippings in the streets, recreation registration opens next week, etc).

Expectations of Ambassadors

  • Reside in city limits
  • Join Nextdoor to receive city updates and connect with neighbors
  • Follow the City of North Liberty on your social media (we’re on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram)
  • Subscribe to city email announcements
    • North Liberty Bulletin (monthly)
    • News (5-10/month)
    • Road closures and project updates (as needed)
    • Emergency alerts (as needed)
  • Share relevant city news, updates, welcome packets and other provided resources with neighbors
  • Enable neighborhood activities
  • Be knowledgeable of area social services
  • Be knowledgeable of city departments and connect residents to the appropriate contacts to address questions
  • Welcome new neighbors to the area
  • Be a role model of Good Neighbor practices
  • Be responsive to ambassador/city communication

As the program develops, expectations may adjust.

Wait, are you asking me to be the neighborhood enforcer?

Absolutely not. Ambassadors are charged with heightening the community spirit in their neighborhood and to be approachable to answer general city questions (do I need a permit for this? how do I switch my trash can size?). The city does not expect ambassadors to mediate grievances between neighbors. Although, we do hope that in time the good work ambassadors do leads to residents being more informed and connected to each other so respectful and productive conversations can naturally take place (hey, your dog has been barking a lot lately and it is scaring my kids. Can we find a way to all enjoy our backyards?)

Interested?

Apply online through the link below or pick up a paper copy at the City Administration building at 3 Quail Creek Circle.

Applications will be accepted through Friday, October 30, 2020. Applicants will hear from a city communications department staff member or communications advisory commissioner during the selection process. Once the initial team of ambassadors is in place, vacancies will be filled on a rolling basis. Ambassadors can serve in their volunteer role for as long as both the ambassador and the City find it mutually beneficial.

Contact community engagement coordinator Jillian Miller with questions at [email protected] or (319) 626-5757.

Apply to be an Ambassador

 

Community pride starts at the neighborhood level. Collaborating on a project or creating a neighborhood tradition strengthens your bond with the people who share a street with you. And knowing more people in your community makes it easier to ask for or offer help, understand someone else's perspective, raise a concern in a productive way, or lean on one another when a pandemic throws a curveball. Obviously, it's important to keep in mind that we are still in a pandemic and some of these activities can't safely take place right now (or need to be altered to allow for social distancing). Reach out to your neighborhood's ambassador if anything on this list jumps out to you. Have a suggestion that we should include on this list? Send it our way.

Invite the City Over

Bring city programming into your neighborhood or nearby park. Ask your ambassador to coordinate with the staff listed below. Request an individual department, or bring them all to your block at once.

  • Library – Bring the love of reading to your neighborhood. Contact Kellee Forkenbrock with the library to coordinate pop-up story times, a traveling library, neighborhood library card signup, and Play Streets.
  • Fire – Contact Mike Johnston for a fire prevention presentation and a visit from a fire truck.
  • Police – You’ve probably heard of Coffee with a Cop events at local coffee shops. The NLPD would love to pop open a lawn chair in your neck of the woods, too. Arrange a time to share conversation with officers — they’ll even bring the coffee.
  • Recreation – Contact Shelly Simpson to organize some pick-up games on your street or nearby park, courtesy of the recreation department.

Start a Tradition

It can be as simple as encouraging neighbors to hang out on their driveways or in the park every Tuesday night, or a big event like Porchfest (started by Arlington Ridge residents in 2016) that invites the larger community into your neighborhood.

Organize a Clean Up Day

Help keep our town looking its best. Clean up a nearby park, trial or pond. Not sure where to clean? The parks department can steer you to a public space in need of a little TLC and supply trash bags, gloves, tools and vests. Have your ambassador reach out to Guy Goldsmith to set something up.

Paint a Storm Drain

Add a splash of color to your neighborhood by painting a storm drain. Propose a drain location and design and the city will guide you through the process–and provide reimbursement for supplies.

 

Start a Book Club

The North Liberty Library has over 40 book club kits available for checkout. Most kits have about a dozen copies already (and the library can get more copies or create a new kit, if needed).

Book a Neighborhood Pool Party

The Aquatics Center’s indoor or outdoor pool reserved just for your neighborhood crew? Yep! This opportunity will become available in 2021 if the COVID-19 pandemic allows.

Start a Little Free Library

Foster the love of reading by installing a little free library (or several) in your neighborhood. Visit the City of Literature‘s map of current little free library locations in town, how to build or order one and where it can be installed, and how to register your neighborhood’s little free library. Just remember, if you start one you need to maintain it, the North Liberty Library does not maintain little free library stations.

Register for a PlaceMates Event

Sharing a meal has been a way to connect with others since the beginning of time. North Liberty’s PlaceMates matches residents of 52317 twice a year for potluck dinners held concurrently in homes throughout town. RSVP to the next event.

Plan a Block Party

You can’t beat a good ol’ fashion block party. Depending on what you have in mind, we’ve got guidelines for if you’ll need a special event permit or not.

Celebrate Good Neighbor Day

National Good Neighbor Day is annually on September 28. On this day, residents are encouraged to celebrate by sharing a meal, helping a neighbor with a project, introducing themselves to a neighbor they do not know, or another act that strengthens their neighborhood’s bond.

I 💗 North Liberty

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Halloween is coming up, but it will look different than years past because, you know, the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson County Public Health and other experts caution that traditional trick-or-treating is riskier than alternatives; although interactions door-to-door are typically quick, they usually involve…

Read More

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