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Pettigrew Heights Works To Change Perception

January 3, 2013, 9:48 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Pettigrew Heights Works To Change Perception

Neighbors from all parts of Sioux Falls are getting engaged in their neighborhoods, thanks to some help from the city. And no where is that more prevalent than in Pettigrew Heights, where after years of work, residents officially formed an association last year.

“We try to buck the prevailing stereotype of our neighborhood as a place of crime and no goodness. But it's not,” Pettigrew Heights Neighborhood Association President Mark Sanderson said.

Sanderson says the neighborhood has challenges, but its association is confronting each one of them head-on.

The Pettigrew Heights boundaries run from Ninth Street south to Sixteenth Street and Minnesota Avenue west to Covell Avenue. It's known often because of residents with a propensity toward crime. The city has targeted the neighborhood as a clean-up area for years and thanks to its newly established neighborhood association, that clean-up work is on the fast track.

“If we are to affirm our neighborhood we have to do it and be co-dependent on an outside driving force to do that,” Sanderson said.

Pettigrew Heights residents have been working for years to form the association. The group made it official last summer and now 2013 will be its first year as a formal neighborhood group.

“Any special effort does take a lot of work. And for our group it took awhile to form and get all of us working on the same page and get the team put together,” the association’s treasurer Kathryn Henning said.

On Thursday night, members of the neighborhood association were downtown learning what more the city can do for them. City officials joined all residents from all over Sioux Falls for a meeting designed to get people involved in their neighborhoods.

“The city's been very proactive in our neighborhood, especially by having revitalization loans available to homeowners,” Henning said.

That involvement is something they know helps. Pettigrew Heights residents have already learned it takes the entire village to help out a neighborhood.

“We're going to look at dark spots in our neighborhood, what needs to be lit up and what's the parallel between good lighting and negative calls by the police force,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson believes that work is just the beginning to highlight a neighborhood he's already proud of and wants the rest of the city to feel that way too. 

The Pettigrew association wants to highlight its proximity to downtown and the new commercial and residential projects planned in the area to draw more people and neighborhood investments.

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