Recently Missouri State professor Dr. Lyle Foster contacted the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association to request that someone from our association meet with his sociology class to discuss community building and answer questions regarding the upcoming ballot measure. We met on a gorgeous autumn day with fall foliage at its peak, and engaged in a wonderful conversation that proved to be a huge inspiration to me personally.
Dr. Foster’s class wanted to know EVERYTHING, from the history of Galloway Village and Sequiota Park, to our four-year zoning battle, to the formation of our association, and even general tips on community building.
I realized during and after this discussion just how much I have learned and gained since this community galvanized around a rezoning request in July 2018. Five years ago I would not have been able to answer any of their questions. Even though I have lived a half-mile from Sequoita Park since 2004, I did not know any more about the history of Galloway Village or the park than what you would find on the placard at the park’s entrance. I did not know any neighbors other than a few on my street and one or two on adjacent streets. I had never participated in an event for the benefit of our local community.
Until this sociology class graced me with their fresh faces and questions, it had not quite dawned on me how much of our slogan “Preserve, Connect and Protect” has actually been embraced and achieved by our membership over the last four-plus years.
The mission of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association is:
“We, the members of the Galloway Village Neighborhood Association, sharing a love for the area we call “home”, will work to preserve the area’s natural qualities, protect the overall character, history, and quality of life in our neighborhood, and connect by fostering positive engagement among neighbors.”
Since our formation in October 2018, GVNA has grown our membership to over 150 households and businesses and hosted 50-75 events centered around the general goal of keeping our neighborhood clean, safe and friendly. Just a few of these include undertaking a survey of area historic buildings, forming the largest neighborhood watch in the city, adopting a stream and conducting three stream cleanups per year, and fundraising almost $70,000 through various events. We have grown our public unofficial neighbors Facebook page to over 1.7k members, and formed new ties within our community that are serving to make us stronger, healthier and happier.
At a public hearing in 2018, a prominent architect told City Council that fighting development was not a good reason to form a neighborhood association, and that it was too late for Galloway. My counter to that is ANY reason is a great reason to form a neighborhood association. The benefits of neighborhood engagement are too numerous to list, but if you set out to preserve the best defining features of your neighborhood, connect the residents and businesses into one close-knit involved community, and protect the unique characteristics of your neighborhood, those who live and do business there, as well as those who visit, will reap the benefits for generations.
I am eternally grateful to Dr. Foster and his class for helping me to realize how thankful I am to have been a part of this amazing neighborhood association’s formation and how much we have truly benefited from what at first seemed like a negative situation. It wasn’t too late for Galloway in 2018 and it’s still not. Galloway Village is alive and well, more united than ever, and ready to continue our mission to preserve, connect, and protect far into the future.