New Aspinwall Neighborhood Watch board member rallies community
Rachel Borland is among the newest board members for Aspinwall Neighborhood Watch, but her duties are less about crime prevention and more about rallying community spirit.
A pediatric dietician, Borland heads the group's soup committee and makes the rounds each weekend to deliver a hot meal to the borough's homebound residents. She's working with Police Chief David Caplan to host a bike safety program for children this spring.
“I joined the Neighborhood Watch to become more involved in this wonderful town,” said Borland, a resident for 10 years. “There are so many more young families who now live in Aspinwall and my goal is to encourage and excite these people to get involved with different events and programs that we offer.”
Borland is one of five new board members installed last week. The others — and a little about what they hope to add to the group — are:
• Lori Kuhn, a retail analyst, who said she is eager to boost education and communication in the community.
• Martha Lightfoot, a developmental therapist, who wants to develop relationships with the Aspinwall Chamber of Commerce.
• Lynda Burkel, a sales leader, brings experience in grant writing.
• Robyn Rowley, an Allegheny County employee, is looking forward to researching requirements for non-profit status.
The watch has 11 board members. It was founded in 2010 to prevent crime, raise funds and sponsor projects to benefit the community. Among the projects is a spring clean-up called Green Streets, where volunteers patrol neighborhoods to collect debris.
In addition, board member Lorraine Marks said they create welcome packets for new residents and host educational events like self-defense classes. The group doles out tip sheets to boost communication between residents and police and is currently in the midst of a campaign to replace playground equipment at Fountain Park.
“We have finished two of the three stages and lots of new pieces have been purchased,” Marks said of the playground project. “We are left with the largest single structure to replace, which will cost about $80,000 to $100,000.”
The group has raised about $40,000 so far.
They look to one of their most important annual efforts, National Night Out, to help with the balance. Hosted at the baseball fields at Fifth Street and Field Avenue, more than 700 people gathered in 2016 to learn safety tips and meet their neighbors. The eighth annual event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 1.
“The board is thrilled that ANW is looking forward to an energized group of volunteers, to a bright future and to exciting programs for the town that we all love,” Marks said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.