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    El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Ass'n Wins Top Nat'l Honor For "Social Revitalization" From Neighborhoods USA

    (June 7, 2003) -- LB's El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association has won first place honors in the category for Social Revitalization from Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA), a national non-profit group.

    NUSA's 2003 award (which includes a $1,000 cash prize) was bestowed on May 24 at their annual conference, held this year in Chattanooga, TN.

    The El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association grabbed top honors in its category for creating and holding an event entitled "An Evening of Original Owners," at which fifty original homeowners in the ELB tract shared stories about what it was like when the neighborhood was first built in 1953.

    El Dorado Park Neighborhood Ass'n 2d VP Grace Earl tells

    "The whole thing got started when Gordon Smith, a neighborhood homeowner, emailed to thank our Association for doing a neighborhood newsletter. At the time, he wasn't involved in our Association but indicated he'd like to know more about the tract and what it was when it was built. That inspired Judy Courdy, one of the newsletter writers, to write a well-received article on one of the original families in the tract...and that in turn prompted 2002 El Dorado Park Neighborhood Ass'n Pres. Devon Day to suggest holding a formal gathering of the original owners."

    Ms. Earl said Ms. Day catalyzed the process, which produced the Evening of Original Owners event that ultimately won the NUSA award. Some of the original homeowners brought early photos and other memorabilia to the event, including a housing tract advertising brochure that listed the original purchase price of the four bedroom, two bathroom, two car garage homes as $13,000.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Smith (who started the ball rolling with his original email) happens to be an engineer with KOCE-TV (PBS 50) in Huntington Beach...and videotaped salient portions of the event. Using his electronic expertise, he created a mini-TV studio at the event and captured priceless documentary interviews with the participants. The resulting archival footage can now be used to convey the neighborhood's history to others.

    And rounding out the community involvement, the El Dorado (Golf Course) Restaurant on Studebaker Rd. loaned tables, chairs, tablecloths and laundry services for the evening.

    "The best part about the event is that it brought all of us together...and we all worked together," Ms. Earl said.

    "These seniors are our national treasures because they know the oral history of our neighborhood that eighty-percent of the neighborhood would not know," Ms. Day said in a release issued by City Hall's Neighborhood Services Bureau. "I've lived here for twenty years and I had no idea what the bean fields looked like. The aerial photo blew me away," she added.

    On July 2, 2003, the City Hall funded Neighborhood Resource Center will honor the El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Association at the Center's Summer Reception: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. @ 425 Atlantic Ave. During the Reception, a videotape presentation of the project will be shown and the El Doradado Park South Neighborhood Ass'n will accept its first prize plaque and cash award.

    The El Dorado Park South Neighborhood Ass'n plans to use its $1,000 award toward the purchase of three concrete neighborhood entry markers and CA native plants that will be installed on the Studebaker Rd. entrances to their neighborhood.

    The Neighborhood Resource Center says this marks the fourth time that LB neighborhoods have been nationally recognized for their accomplishments by Neighborhoods, USA. In previous years, East Hill/Salt Lake Streets Neighborhood Watch Block Clubs, Emerald Villas Homeowners Association, and Magnolia Industrial Group have each placed among the finalists in the Neighborhood of the Year contest for their neighborhood improvement efforts.

    On its web site, Neighborhoods, USA says it is a "national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations. Created in 1975 to share information and experiences toward building stronger communities, NUSA now continues to encourage networking and information sharing to facilitate the development of partnerships between neighborhood organizations, government and the private sector...Today the organization maintains a stable membership base of approximately 1,100, with annual conference attendance's that range from 600 to 900 participants."

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