LOHO residents moving ahead with projects to enhance neighborhoodBy ANTHONY WARREN,
It all started with John Morgan Hughes’ back door getting kicked in.
Less than two years after Hughes’ home was broken into in the middle of the night, the Northsider has led efforts to form a new homeowners association for the LOHO area.
And now, only months after the board and master plan were formally adopted, the association is moving forward with making the neighborhood safer and building community pride.
Residents are putting new yard signs out, showing they are members of the association.
On top of that, plans are in the works to install new security cameras, radar and street signage.
“We have officially submitted our package for branding signage, security cameras and radar,” Hughes said. “We should hear back from the city in the next two to three weeks.”
The association is seeking Jackson’s approval to install new LOHO-specific signage at its 11 main entrances. The decorative signs would say “You are now entering LOHO,” and be on nice, wrought-iron poles.
The signage would be placed at the neighborhood’s four entry points on Meadowbrook Road, six entry points on Eastover Drive and one entrance on Douglass Drive.
In addition to street signs, LOHO is also asking the city permission to install high-resolution surveillance cameras at four neighborhood entrances.
The cameras will record vehicles entering the area and will capture license plate numbers – data that can be used by the police to help capture burglars and detect suspicious activity.
In August 2017, Hughes’ Highland Circle home was one of several that were broken into in the middle of the night.
His house was burglarized a second time that November, when he and other residents had come together to honor the officer that solved the initial case.
LOHO also hopes to install radar on Eastover Drive – the neighborhood’s southern border.
The radar will include lighted signs that show motorists how fast they’re traveling down the roadway. Eastover currently has a speed limit of 30 miles per hour, and between the I-55 frontage road and Ridgewood Road, it is traveled by about 3,300 vehicles a day.
“We hypothesize 90 percent of traffic at any given time is exceeding the speed limit,” he said. “We looked at other traffic-calming mechanisms but thought this would be the best option for us at this stage of the game.”
One radar would be placed on each side of the roadway, to monitor vehicles in the east and west-bound lanes.
The proposals are being funded largely with LOHO membership dues, as well as a $6,000 grant from the LeFleur East Foundation to help offset camera costs. In all, the cameras are expected to cost around $24,000.
LOHO serves the area running from Meadowbrook Road in the north to Eastover Drive in the south. It is bordered by the I-55 North frontage road to the west and Ridgewood Road to the east. Approximately 140 homeowners have joined the association.
“It’s exciting. I think it’s a testament to people’s willingness to get involved and pay it forward when it comes to their community,” Hughes said. “You give people an opportunity to get involved and give them a worthwhile plan, and they’ll invest in it.”