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Wellington Heights Assoc. Celebrates 25 Years

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Community Gardens all throughout the Wellington Heights neighborhood might be sprinkled with green plants, but theres a lot more than dinner growing there.

Its the community itself.

Russ Oviatt was a president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association just after its beginning at of its 25 year history.

"Early on, I think a number of the original residents here felt like the neighborhood was getting a little bit splintered and little bit fragmented, said Oviatt.

Since then, the groups had neighborhood clean ups, installed little libraries every few blocks and is responsible for the Community Gardens.

Oviatt says it was the first group of its kind in the city, trying to bring neighbors together to make their community better.

"The early founders were kind of making it up as they went along, said Oviatt.

"In the beginning we had 40-50 people at every meeting, said Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association Ex-Treasurer and current member Steve Davis.

Now, Steve says fewer people show up, but over 25 years, the Association has done what it set out to do.

"It has changed, said Davis. There's more people taking pride in ownership."

Its an organization that tries to battle a bad reputation with community improvements when others fight with guns.

"People have the perception of crime and violence, said Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association President Justin Wasson. 99% of the time, that's not the reality here."

Some of its founding fathers say its come a long way, but theres always much more to do.

"I think the association will go on forever as long as there are people willing to stand up and volunteer, said Davis.

Wasson says the Association will mark its 25th Anniversary in its annual silent auction in November. He says that fundraiser helps fund projects for most of the year.
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