When Jeanine Ross and her husband Sam decided to sell their house in the Bancroft neighborhood in 1985, they intentionally chose to look for a new house in a very small geographic area of Minneapolis instead of moving closer to their jobs in the western suburbs.
The couple chose Lynnhurst, specifically the 52nd and James Ave. block, to make their home and where Jeanine has served as longtime Community Crime Prevention Volunteer and Block Leader.
Jeanine says “There are so many wonderful reasons that I enjoy living in the Lynnhurst neighborhood. I truly enjoy the nearby urban natural beauty of Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Creek and our green spaces. I love being here in all seasons – enjoying my daily walks with my dog, Taj, cycling, kayaking, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing on Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Creek. I so appreciate the sense of community I feel being able to walk or cycle and support our nearby services, restaurants and shops.”
Jeanine also shared one of the major highlights of living on the 52nd and James Avenue block: “Almost everyone is a friend. We support each other plus we have a lot of fun together! I tell others that living on our block is like ‘living in a dorm at college’.”
This collegial spirit on the block made it easy for Jeanine to say ‘yes!’ to volunteering as the block leader for the past 25 years.
“We have several annual traditions. Often we have a Memorial Day potluck brunch to kick off the season. In the summer, a creative couple on our block organizes the ‘Annual James Avenue South Lawn Olympics’ which lasts all afternoon and into the evening. Traditionally, we have an ice cream social and dessert bar for National Night Out in August. In October, another creative couple organizes the ‘Annual Pumpkin Races’. And in the winter, neighbors sometimes organize singing holiday carols on our block with a bonfire gathering afterwards.”
Jeanine explained that because the residents on the block really know and care about each other, they watch out for each other and offer help or support when needed. “The number one thing we are doing in response to increased crime rates is reminding everyone that ‘If you see something, say something’. We keep each other informed and if necessary we call 911.”
To help with communication on the block, Jeanine has distributed a neighborhood house map and a list of residents’ contact information. “We welcome and help integrate new families moving into our neighborhood and make it known to all that we are here for each other.”
Recently, Jeanine ‘passed the torch’ as block leader to another long-time neighbor and friend, Mark Thome.