Shootings and gang violence have marked Eastdale with a reputation for crime that residents are determined to change.
"I want people to look at us in a positive light, said Demetrus Coonrod, president of the Eastdale Neighborhood Association.
The community wants a new image for its North Brainerd area and it's prepared to work until residents see results.
Within the past four years the area has seen several incidents of gun violence. Two fatal shootings happened in 2010 at the corner of Wilcox and Tunnel boulevards. In 2012, a teenager was shot but survived after leaving the Eastdale Recreation Center. Eastdale resident Kima Evans was fatally shot in 2012 while sitting in his driveway.
But in the past year since the Eastdale Neighborhood Association revival the area has made progress. Neighborhood leaders have sent letters to businesses where there is high crime rate warning them that if they did not get more security or address the crimes residents would complain about them to the City Council. Then the group hosted community celebrations and began raising funds to send high school graduates from the community to college or vocational training.
"Eastdale is on the move," said resident Curtis Burst. "I like this area and we're pushing forward to help this community grow."
The group hosted its one-year anniversary at the Eastdale Recreation Center on Monday.
Coonrod thanked more than 40 residents for their participation in changing the community.
Eastdale will host its first pancake breakfast fundraiser from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Applebee's on Market Street. The goal is to raise enough money to financially assist at least five high school graduates from Eastdale who plan to further their education.
Eastdale spent most of the last four without a neighborhood association with other groups working on the community's behalf. But now Eastdale has it's own voice.
"Let's keep up the good work," said resident James Harris.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at 423-757-6431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.