Sustainable neighborhoods has been a strategic priority since 2012, when the City created a Neighborhood Services Program. The City Council’s goals for sustainable neighborhoods include:
- Increase curb appeal for existing residents and enticing prospective residents
- Maintain or increase property values for ad valorem tax
- Help foster a sense of community between neighbors
- Help elderly and disabled residents remain in their homes
- Reduce code violations
- Reduce negative communication from residents such as calls, emails and residents attending council meetings to discuss neighborhood quality of life issues
- Make neighborhoods that are older, lower income or ethnically diverse feel included in the City’s resources
- Creating a one-stop shop for all neighborhood quality of life issues for residents and neighborhood leaders. No more phone tree transfer for questions and issues.
To achieve these goals, the Community Development Division developed and implemented programs for neighborhoods to utilize in partnership with the City.
- The Tool Lending Center is designed to be deployed for organized projects such as neighborhood cleanups or other beautification projects where volunteers (scouts, church groups, school groups, etc.) are organized and available. For neighborhood cleanups, tools will be available for residents of that neighborhood to checkout. During cleanups volunteers borrow tools from the TLC and work on homes whose residents are elderly, disabled, etc. Round Rock’s TLC was the first of its kind in the State of Texas. To date over 3,400 tools have been checked out and 4,500 volunteers have contributed 18,000 hours of volunteer service with the TLC.
- The Neighborhood Movie Chest is available to Neighborhoods and HOAs that are organizing a community movie night. In today’s digital world, opportunities for neighbors to interact and get to know one another are becoming few and far between. The neighborhood movie kit allows neighborhoods to host a fun, easy event to bring neighbors together. The secret to the program is not the movie itself, but rather the opportunity to encourage neighborhoods to have ancillary events with the movie night designed to get residents to interact with one another. Neighborhoods can do a pot-luck dinner, or pot-luck desert, ice-cream social, beer or wine tasting and even a BBQ competition.
- The Curb Painting Program was initiated to improve safety in Round Rock neighborhoods by making sure that the Fire Department, EMS, and Police can quickly locate homes in an emergency. Neighborhood volunteers can borrow the all-inclusive kit at no cost to begin painting addresses within their neighborhood. Keep Neighborhood Watch teams active and engaged with this easy to maintain program.
- Round Rock UniverCity is a 10-week program designed to engage and educate residents on the operations of the City. UniverCity participants get to experience firsthand the work it takes to run a city department. Each City department hosts a presentation, tour or break out session each week, and provide valuable information about day to day operations of the City and future projects. Residents will receive an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look into City operations within each of its departments.
- The Lawn Care Foster Program is designed to supply neighborhood leaders with lawn maintenance equipment that their neighbors can borrow in the event of code enforcement violations. The City supplies a lawn mower, weed edger and safety equipment to a neighborhood leader who then becomes the “foster” of the equipment and lends it to neighbors in need who receive a code violation for tall grass. The City supplies a resource for the resident, alleviates a code case quicker and helps to provide a resource to keep neighborhood organizations active for a minimal investment.
- The Fence Staining Kit — Staining and sealing a wood fence can protect the beauty and value of homes. Even if a fence is weathered and covered by gray oxidation and mold, it can be restored it to its original finish and then stained and seal it, making it look beautiful for years to come. The average cost to clean and stain can be between $800 and $1,000. Residents can borrow a pressure washer and professional grade paint sprayer at no cost from the City to clean and stain their own fence. Homes along major traffic corridors are eligible for rebates.
- Block Party Trailer — Block Parties are a great way to meet neighbors. They provide a casual relaxed setting where residents can meet, play, eat, and hopefully, find similarities that bring them closer together. With a little effort a neighborhood of strangers can be transformed into a connected community of families that care for each other and the overall health and vibrancy of their neighborhood.