By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — It’s been 10 years since the establishment of the Historic Southside Neighborhood Association, and it’s time to celebrate.
According to HSNA President Terri Wentz, that’s just what the association plans to do next Saturday as part of the association’s annual picnic and community gathering.
The annual picnic is Saturday, Aug. 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the 500 block of South Seventh Street,
“For this picnic we’re doing a little bit extra to celebrate the 10th anniversary. We’re having a cake and having one of those bouncy houses for the kids in addition to our usual cornhole contest and other entertainment,” Wentz said. “We’re also having a neighborhood jam session where anyone who plays an instrument in the neighborhood is welcome to come. And we’re going to have a photo booth as well, which seems to be very popular these days. So it should be just a lot of good fun.”
As one of the first neighborhood associations to be established in Goshen, the HSNA has grown significantly over the past 10 years. Currently made up of approximately 450 households, the neighborhood association is bounded by Madison Street on the north, Plymouth Avenue on the south, Ninth Street on the east and Main Street on the west.
“HSNA has been a model for other neighborhood associations,” Wentz said. “We have a neighborhood Facebook account that is well utilized, we have an annual picnic that’s attended by anywhere from 75 to 150 neighbors each year, and then in the month of February we have a chili diner that typically draws about 80 or 90 neighborhood residents.”
Wentz also pointed to the association’s neighborhood garden, located at the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Main Street, as one of the neighborhood’s shining gems.
“I think that was the first neighborhood garden established in Goshen,” Wentz said. “It’s a nice welcoming spot in the neighborhood, and several other neighborhoods have now followed our example.”
Looking back on the past 10 years, Wentz said she has seen some significant accomplishments achieved by the association that she doesn’t feel would have been possible without the communication and connectivity that such associations provide.
“Associations are important because they really help to unite the neighbors in certain causes,” Wentz said. “For example, we’ve worked with the city on the Ninth Street Corridor project and the U.S. 33 project. Being in an association gives us representation with the city — a combined voice that carries more weight than just an individual voice. Then there’s the connectivity that it fosters, where we’ve been able to generate camaraderie among a real diverse population, and I think that’s what’s so special about our neighborhood, that diversity, and being able to mingle with and work with people from a variety of different backgrounds for the common goal of a better community.”
With 10 solid years now successfully under its belt, Wentz said she already has a clear vision for what she’d like to see for the association over the next 10 years and beyond.
“I believe the vision for our next 10 years is very optimistic,” Wentz said. “With the growth of Goshen in general, the ‘small town’ atmosphere so many families desire, the proximity to our revitalized downtown, and assets like Chandler School and the Goshen Public Library, Historic Southside will be even more attractive in the future. Our hope is for more participation by each family, and our dream is for harmony and the true feeling of community within our boundaries.”