A Neighborly New Group for a Dynamic & Historic Central Austin Neighborhood
Austin’s newest neighborhood group has just launched in the heart of central Austin. Friends of Heritage (FoH) is the latest addition to the Friends of Austin Neighborhoods (FAN) organization. Founded with a spirit of inclusiveness, diversity, and friendly social dialogue, the Friends of Heritage mission is to proactively address Heritage’s place in a changing Austin while building stronger relationships as a community. Among the city’s oldest and most unique neighborhoods, Heritage is situated between Guadalupe St, Lamar Blvd, 38th St, and 29th St.
Friends of Heritage was created by several longtime Heritage residents, all of whom have served on the Heritage Neighborhood Association, including a past President, its current President, and several Steering Committee members.
“After years of volunteering with traditional neighborhood associations, I helped found Friends of Heritage after seeing the positive and innovative approach of other neighborhood organizations affiliated with Friends of Austin Neighborhoods,” said founding board member John Boardman. “I served for three years as president of our traditional neighborhood association and saw how neighbors were unable to participate due to the difficulty of attending meetings where votes were taken,” Boardman added. “When I talked to my neighbors about creating a new group with a positive and collaborative approach, secure online voting, and social get-togethers, the enthusiastic response made it clear that a group like FoH was long overdue.”
The new group emphasizes a growing consensus in Austin that affordability and vitality depend on a diverse and abundant choice of housing options that are not currently available but can be very compatible with existing neighborhoods. Friends of Heritage also encourages participation by a more diverse array of neighborhood stakeholders, including all residents as well as the businesses who choose call Heritage home. Another key difference is the use of FAN’s progressive model for handling neighborhood business. Discussions and voting take place in online forums while in-person meetings are held as social hours at homes and local businesses.
Friends of Heritage places a strong emphasis on preserving the neighborhood’s iconic structures (the majority of board members live in 80+ year-old homes) but takes a balanced approach by supporting the kinds of improvements that will enhance affordability, inclusivity, connectivity, mobility, and quality of life.
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