At age 68, Mimi Davis is a retiree with enthusiasm and drive.
In 2005 the former fifth grade teacher and her husband, Alan, moved to Charlotte from Oklahoma City. Davis, an avid gardener, got involved with the Grove Park neighborhood association after attending the Grove Park-Ravenwood annual Garden and Art Tour.
For the past three years she has served as president of the Grove Park neighborhood association.
Davis decided that as a retiree, she could volunteer a lot more than she could while working full time. She understands the time constraints that don’t allow some residents to get as involved. But she believes everyone has a role to play.
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“The Grove Park neighborhood association has a great group of hard working and committed volunteers,” Davis said.
Grove Park is an eclectic array of 510 homes with these borders: Linda Lake Drive on the east, W.T. Harris Boulevard on the west, Robinson Church Road on the south and Demill Road on the north. There are four privately owned lakes in the neighborhood.
“One of the biggest joys of my life is working with the neighborhood,” Davis said. She is constantly thinking of next steps. “It’s important to know the needs of the people and try to meet those needs. You have to keep your pulse on what people want.”
The Grove Park neighborhood association has 31 block captains, five board members, eight newsletter staff members and volunteers to put up signs about meetings and other duties.
“The biggest thing we ever did is change the newsletter. The difference was like night and day. Our meetings became much better attended,” Davis said. Their quarterly newsletter is a 16-page magazine with advertisements. Residents get ad discounts and block captains distribute them.
Another tool used by the neighborhood association is a real estate brochure. “One way that we help neighbors is to help them sell their houses,” Davis said.
Members of the Grove Park neighborhood association also apply for grants.
They received a $23,000 grant from the Arts and Science Council. In August, a 12-foot steel sculpture will be unveiled.
Grove Park neighborhood leaders decided to have the sculpture placed at the intersection of Sharon Amity and W.T. Harris Boulevard to allow more people to enjoy it. They want it to be a symbol of progress in east Charlotte.
On March 27, the association received a $24,000 matching grant from Neighborhood and Business Services for neighborhood beautification. One portion of the grant will be used to help beautify the Boys and Girls Club on Milton Road.
The Grove Park-Ravenwood Garden Club will sponsor its annual Garden and Art Tour May 17 from 1-5 p.m. The event is open to the public. The Garden Club also selects a yard of the month.
Residents of Grove Park also get to enjoy a little “outdoor” library for anyone to donate books or take books home.
The Charlotte School of Law helped the Grove Park neighborhood association get their official nonprofit status, which makes all donations tax deductible.
The neighborhood association recently established a newcomers committee to welcome people to the neighborhood.
Davis promotes the importance of exchanging information to help others. “I believe having a vision is key for any neighborhood,” she said.
“I think neighborhoods go one of two ways, some have a couple parties and that’s it … without realizing what they can do, or they try to do too much and nothing works and nobody buys in.”
Davis believes that neighborhoods have their own personalities and she considers Grove Park lively and creative. Coincidentally, several artists reside in Grove Park.
Besides her neighborhood volunteerism, Davis works with the animal ministry at Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church. She also participated in the Moral Monday movement.
In some ways Davis sounds like a neighborhood cheerleader. “You have to believe deep in your soul that what you do matters, but it is never easy,” she said.
“What can one little neighborhood do to save the world? Start with the neighbor across the street, start with your block, work with your neighborhood association … do something.”
Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer. Have a column idea for Charlene? Contact her at CPPUniversityCity@gmail.com.
Visit grove-park.org, or email Mimi Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.