There are many benefits to living in an organized neighborhood association. Perhaps the strongest argument for helping organize a vibrant and responsive association is to keep your property values high. Associations can organize events needed to keep a neighborhood looking good, like clean-up days. They can also work with City safety officials, Neighborhood Code, and Public Works to keep the neighborhood safe and clean, and the infrastructure in good repair. And, of course, neighborhood associations can help residents get to know one another and improve the quality of life for residents.

If you don't have an organized neighborhood association, following is a brief description of the process needed to start one. Of course, these are simply a few ideas to get you started. You're encouraged to also consult legal counsel when forming your association and developing your organizational documents.

1) Find the boundaries and name of your neighborhood on this map

2) Determine whether your neighborhood is currently organized under state law.

Visit the Indiana Secretary of State website and enter your neighborhood name in the "public business search."

3) If you determine that an association for your neighborhood has never been legally formed, you will need to form a legal entity. This will require research and planning, and possible consultation with an attorney, before you can decide what type of legal entity is right for your neighborhood. Many associations choose to form a non-profit corporation. If you choose this route, the Indiana Secretary of State "Starting My Business" website can help walk you through the process.

4) If you choose to register as a non-profit, you will need to develop by-laws to govern your association. For a local neighborhood association by-laws example, visit the website of the Williams-Woodland Neighborhood, in near-south Fort Wayne. Scroll down to the by-laws section of the website here.