When Travis Rayner and his wife moved into the Dog River Park Community, he knew they were there to stay.
“We moved here full-time a year and a half ago, and we’re going to retire here. So, I want this to be a wonderful place to call home,” Rayner said.
Abandoned houses with overgrown weeds occupy much of the landscape, and people driving by dump tires and trash on the side of the road; sometimes directly underneath the city’s “no dumping” sign.
Rayner said he calls the city’s 311 hotline to report the issues on a weekly basis, but his cries for assistance often go unanswered.
That’s one of the reasons he’s spear-heading a community action group.
“If you sit back and do absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing is what you’re going to get.” Rayner joked. “We wanted to do something to bring the good people of our neighborhood together to make a change.”
The group held their first meeting nearly a week ago, and changes are already starting to happen.
Rayner said more than 20 neighbors showed up, as well as city council member John Williams, a representative of the police department, and the Dog River Clear Water Revival.
“I’ve lived here 17 years, and I met more people on that day than the whole 17 years I’ve lived here,” said Ken Rone, one of Rayner’s neighbors who was outside mowing his grass.
“It’s just being active in your community,” Rone continued.
Rayner knows the neighborhood is still a long way off from perfection, but he hopes with a united front, city leaders will listen next time they call for assistance.
“I think it carries a lot more weight when you receive a call from an organization that says ‘I’m part of our community action group–the dog river park community action group and we’re having an issue.’ I think that carries a lot more weight than an individual calling up and saying, ‘this is Travis, and there’s trash in the neighborhood.’
If you would like to start a community action group in your neighborhood, you can contact the Mobile Police Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 251.208.1924.