Glen Oaks community forms neighborhood association

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There's new hope for a Baton Rouge neighborhood riddled with crime.  Some longtime residents in Glen Oaks are behind a big effort to save their community.

Glen Oaks is an area of the city most have come to know as a neighborhood that once thrived. But it has slowly changed over the years into something residents said they are not so proud of.  Properties with overgrown grass, weeds, and busted windows have become landmarks.

Glen Oaks native, Velma Barnes, and some of her neighbors have had enough.

"We want to get our neighborhood exactly where it was when we came here. I've been here over 30 years and have seen the neighborhood fall by the wayside," Barnes said.

They have formed a group called The Glen Oaks West Neighborhood Association to help get things in order. It's a homeowners association where residents are given rules to follow and pay a fee to help with upkeep.

"No person should have to move out of their home to find a better place to live," Hunter said.

Reverend Donald Hunter, who also lives there, believes giving the community and its schools a little attention is the first step in getting rid of crime. He wants to work with renters too.

"We just want to get in with all the neighbors and bring a unified group together, get the neighborhood to where it's a safe haven for the parents and children as well," Barnes said.

Organization leaders said the first thing they want to do is tackle blight. They say that begins with finding the owners of unoccupied properties. One of the homes residents pointed out has been vacant for more than a decade.

"When you leave that property idle like that then more than likely people who use them for drugs and become a very bad element in your community," Hunter said.

They also remember what it once was. Barnes said she is ready to get to work.

"I'm excited about the cleanup, getting houses painted just getting everybody on one accord," Barnes said.

The neighborhood association plans to hold its first committee meeting on Thursday.  Residents will be given the chance to vote on any proposed association fees.

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