Village Green Preservation Society, Eat Your Heart Out
It’s been said that a rich life is one that is lived on the advice of time-tested sayings. And perhaps there is no better example of those following the “love thy neighbor” creed than the Northwestern Ferndale citizens who make up the Woodland Park Improvement Association.
Consisting of the homes on nine blocks of Ferndale (between lower Lewiston and upper Oakridge), the Woodland Park Improvement Association is Michigan’s oldest neighborhood organization, established in 1924 and incorporated in 1946. For a taxdeductible $15, members enjoy many community benefits and activities, including snow removal and association-sponsored picnics.
I had the opportunity to speak with Darcey McLaughlin, President and Block Director about what makes the WPIA so unique and important.
Ferndale Friends: For those who don’t know, what does membership in the WPIA provide?
Darcy McLaughlin: Members of the WPIA have enjoyed sidewalk snow removal service for 50 years, block parties for individual blocks as well as an allinclusive one for the whole area, coordinated association- wide garage sales that alternate from Spring to Fall in different years, and more.
FF: There aren’t a whole lot of volunteer organizations that can boast being around since 1924. What do you attribute the longevity of this group to?
DM: I believe there will always be a need to coordinate activities and news to and with your neighbors. We have great block directors who give a lot of their time and energy, and we try to have fun too. Our members are very appreciative of their block directors and we all work together in support of our community. We actively want to continue the tradition.
FF: What do you think it is about the Woodland Park area that makes something like the WPIA so unique and successful?
DM: Our sense of community, much like greater Ferndale as a whole. We have great neighbors who really relish the opportunity to work together within a structure with coordinated activities for our association as a whole. A great example, we have the luminaries we provide to each household on Christmas Eve. It’s just magical to drive down our streets on that evening, and really makes us grateful to have each other.
FF: In their recent campaigns, both Dave Coulter and Dan Martin spoke about the importance of groups like the WPIA. Why do you think they recognized the WPIA? DM: Large groups of citizens who work together for a positive cause are what we should all strive for!
FF: What does the WPIA hope to accomplish in the future?
DM: We will continue to work together to ensure that the time-honored traditions since our inception live on, but also we are open to any ideas that are brought to the table. Some great volunteers have started a Facebook page to be able to instantly communicate with our association, and we will continue to embrace new technology to keep us close together. We are committed to having our association thrive in the future to continue to make Ferndale as a whole, a great place to live, work and play.
And through the dedication of their entire community, they’re doing just that.
More information about the Woodland Park Improvement Association can be found at www.wpiaferndale.org. Their Spring Neighborhood Garage Sale will take place May 18 and 19. They can also be found on Facebook by searching Woodland Park Improvement Association.
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