California Heights Neighborhood Association Scores Big at the 2012 Neighborhoods USA Conference

share this:
First Place and Grand Prize 2012 Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) conference

L to R CHNA board member, Tim Price; NUSA President, Tige Watts; CHNA board member, Stacey Morrison; CHNA president, John Royce

The California Heights Neighborhood Association (CHNA) received First Place and Grand Prize at the 2012 Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) conference in Indianapolis on May 25, 2012, recognizing the accomplishments of the California Heights Home and Garden Tours, which fund ambitious community projects in the California Heights Historic District. The tour also demonstrates both the intrinsic and financial values of maintaining the neighborhood’s historic character and unique sense of place.

Neighborhood, business or homeowners associations from across the United States who completed a community improvement project or community building activity in 2011 submitted their projects for the national competition. Finalists were invited to present to a Judging Jury at the annual conference.

First, second and third place designations were awarded in each of three categories:

  1. Physical Revitalization/Beautification – Single Neighborhood
  2. Social Revitalization/Neighborliness – Single Neighborhood
  3. Multi Neighborhood Partnerships

The three entries receiving first place in their respective categories were evaluated to determine the Grand Prize winner. CHNA won first place in the Physical Revitalization category and went on to be named 2012 Neighborhood of the Year Grand Prize Winner.

CHNA board members Stacey Morrison, Cal Heights Clean Streets coordinator; Tim Price, Treasurer; and John Royce, Association President, represented CHNA. Unlike other local organizations that have presented at NUSA, CHNA was not supported by public funding. Expenses for the trip were paid by the attending association members, CHNA and generous community donations, including two airline tickets from Jet Blue Airways and $500 from Orozco’s Auto Repair.

“We are very touched by the generosity of our community. We remain a dues-free association and do not typically ask for general donations,” says CHNA President, John Royce. “We learned a long time ago that if we wanted to complete our community outreach and improvement project goals, we’d need to fund them on our own.” The vehicle for that funding has largely been the Home and Garden Tours. The thirteenth tour took place in October, 2011. $10,000 of tour profits will be invested in CHNA’s ongoing signature vintage lamppost restoration project, which replaces the basic lamppost tops with replicas of the original decorative cages and finials that once adorned the historic district neighborhood’s lampposts. The balance of the tour’s proceeds support other ongoing projects, including CHNA’s volunteer led weekly Clean Streets litter and graffiti removal activities, Cal Heights ReLeaf tree planting and tree care efforts, and past projects such as the iconic Cal Heights mural by Art Mortimer at the intersection of Orange and Wardlow Roads.

“While we are proud of our awards and honor CHNA’s recognition, Stacey, Tim and I have been inspired by the dedicated people we encountered last week at NUSA, who are solving problems in their respective neighborhoods, beautifying, restoring, collaborating with community partners, making friends and building community all across this nation of ours. We thank all of our board members, volunteers and supporters, past and present for making this award possible. If you’ve volunteered, purchased a Home and Garden Tour ticket, adopted a lamppost or allowed us to open your home our garden, we share this award with you.” John Royce CHNA President.

For those interested in helping close the fundraising gap for the NUSA trip expenses, Roxanne’s Lounge, 1115 E Wardlow Road, will host CHNA at their “Pink Wednesdays” for the month of June and the Sunday BBQ on June 24th. A portion of food sale proceeds will be donated to CHNA.

For more information and to view CHNA’s award winning video presentation, “It Takes a Village to Make the Village Strong” go to, or visit the California Heights Neighborhood Association Facebook Page.

Comments are closed.