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Growth, One Neighbor at a Time

In 2023, the Melrose Place Crime Prevention District received $10,000 of legislative appropriations from the state general fund to improve our neighborhood by June 30, 2024.


Our vision for this funding was to engage in improvement projects that would unite residents. The Civic Association coordinated the moving parts and proposed some broad goals as we worked through these projects:  


  • Enhance our neighborhood identity

  • Improve the environment's appearance

  • Strengthen our ability to cooperate

  • Establish a sustainable plan for maintaining that growth.


The plan that we ultimately proposed included a series of small, tangible improvements throughout the neighborhood.  While we hired out some technical expertise, ALL the projects involved the sustained participation of volunteers and property owners. It was about skin in the game.


As we embarked on these changes this spring, each participant brought their creativity, problem solving skills, and labor into the mix in occasionally surprising ways.  In the end, we found that Melrose Place is made of people committed to making our neighborhood stronger than how we found it.


New Pillar on Hermitage Drive

One of the original pillars at the corner of Hermitage Dr. and N. Foster Dr. was destroyed years ago by a car accident. We had a new pillar built from the ground up by a local masonry expert. New signs have been fabricated and will be added to both pillars in early July. Longtime residents Robert Johnson and Rick Vallet designed a small but lovely plant arrangement around the new pillar.  Along with Val Spencer, they installed the landscaping and will be helping to maintain it. Ray Minor, our neighbor on that corner, has graciously pitched in with irrigation.


New (and old!) Melrose Sign on Waverly Drive

The sign that previously greeted people entering the neighborhood from Waverly Dr. had been there since the 1980’s and was on its last leg.  We designed a new sign and had it fabricated and installed. Amy Pirtle, Steve Gremillion, and I re-surfaced the existing posts to give it some extra swag. As a surprise side project, Steve Gremillion took the old sign and refurbed the heck out of it.  He then installed it on posts at the edge of the woods at Waverly and N. Afton. It’s a charming vignette and a great way to keep the memory of our old sign alive.


Letter Board Displays

Communicating with an entire neighborhood has always been a challenge. So, part of our plan included installing old-fashioned outdoor letter board displays to work alongside our other communication channels. There are currently two installed: one on Waverly Dr. and another at N. Afton near North St.  A third display will be added to the Hermitage entrance in early July. A very special THANK YOU to our neighbor TL Ritchie for letting us install the N. Afton structure on her property. Clayton Weeks generously volunteered to oversee the installations and provide the tools. Alex Keys, Josh James, and I helped out with the dirty work.

Additional Plantings

Rick Vallet, Robert Johnson, and Val Spencer came together again, cheered on by Charmaine Torry, to plant a charming mini garden that now brightens up the Melrose Blvd median near S. Afton. Rick and Robert (our beautification juggernauts) will manage its maintenance. Additionally, a group of volunteers showed up (some unexpectedly!) to help dig a big ole hole and plant a Natchez crepe myrtle on Melrose Blvd near Waverly: Robin Shexnaydre, Steve Gremillion, April James, Josh James, Max Martin, Wilbert Rideau, and the entire Weeks clan. It was a party!  Robin, a gifted green thumb, has graciously volunteered to keep it watered and give it love through the summer.

 Deep Street Edging

Approaching the final week of our project season, we rented a track loader (“Skid Steer”) to tackle what seemed like a decade’s worth of dirt that had encroached on our streets, especially on Waverly Drive along the woods.  Clayton and Clyde were out there operating that thing like a boss and logged 7 and a half hours the first day.  The second day, Clayton used the equipment to clean up a few other caked edges in the neighborhood, especially around drains.



To Cary Skaggs, our Melrose Crime Prevention District treasurer for managing the financials and keeping the paperwork on track.


The Melrose Civic Association will continue maintaining these improvements and hope YOU will consider helping us write the next chapter of our neighborhood’s growth.


David West


Melrose Civic Association

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