East Knoxville neighborhood organization launches community newsletter, purchases computers with city grant

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Members of the Eastport/Lee Williams Neighborhood Watch show off the inaugural community newsletter made possible by a grant from the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods at the organization’s monthly meeting in September. Pictured from left to right are newsletter contributors John McKinney, Sylvia Cook, Carrie Gayle and Beaetta Prater with Office of Neighborhoods Assistant Coordinator Debbie Sharp.

Members of the Eastport/Lee Williams Neighborhood Watch show off the inaugural community newsletter made possible by a grant from the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods at the organization’s monthly meeting in September. Pictured from left to right are newsletter contributors John McKinney, Sylvia Cook, Carrie Gayle and Beaetta Prater with Office of Neighborhoods Assistant Coordinator Debbie Sharp.

The Residences of Eastport/Lee Williams Neighborhood Watch has announced the launch of a community newsletter for residents in the community with support from a $1,500 grant through the City of Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods Small Grant Program.

“The main goal of our neighborhood watch is to keep everyone informed,” said Sylvia Cook, president of Eastport/Lee Williams Neighborhood Watch. “I wanted to start this newsletter to make residents feel special and connected. Everyone has been really excited to put content into the paper.”

The first edition debuted at the group’s meeting in September, and Cook encouraged anyone in the neighborhood to submit content for the monthly newsletter. The newsletter will include neighborhood events, articles, poems and features on residents who live in the community. Several residents have signed up to write monthly articles on topics from poetry to sports.
Dr. Lee L. Williams Senior Complex and The Residents at Eastport are properties managed by Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) that serve senior and disabled populations. Cook said a newsletter will especially benefit the residents.

“A lot of people in the area aren’t able to get out much in the community,” Cook said. “I like for them to be able to figure out what’s going on and what they can get to. A lot of them are alone, and this is something they can use to communicate with their neighbors.”

A few months ago, David Massey, the coordinator of the Office of Neighborhoods, and Debbie Sharp, assistant neighborhood coordinator, encouraged Cook to apply for the grant. Cook attended a workshop hosted by the City of Knoxville to learn how to write the proposal. Massey and Sharp helped the Neighborhood Watch set up a checking account and asked the East Tennessee Community Design Center to serve as the group’s financial sponsor for the grant.

“We want to help neighborhood organizations and make it easy,” Sharp said. “Grant application processes can be difficult, and we didn’t want it to be a barrier.”

The $1,500 grant will be distributed throughout the year and will be used to cover the purchase of two computers to create the newsletter, publishing costs and computer training. Anyone who checks out a computer from the Neighborhood Watch will have been required to complete computer training courses at the nearby Burlington Branch Public Library.

At the launch party for the newsletter, Cook recognized Beth Bacon, senior asset manager for KCDC, for her assistance with the Neighborhood Watch and the newsletter.

“It means something to the community,” Cook said. “People are eager to be in the newsletter. One man said it was the first time he has ever been in the newspaper, and he was so proud. Every new thing you do, this community gets excited about it.”

The Eastport/Lee Williams Neighborhood Watch currently is accepting content for next month’s issue, which will be published Oct. 21.

KCDC is the housing authority and redevelopment agency for Knoxville. Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. For more information, visit https://www.kcdc.org.

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