By May 17, 2017 Read More →

CommunityView – Orchard Park Alliance

CommunityView: Orchard Park Neighborhood Alliance – then and now

by Maryann Spikes, Alliance Chair

Neighbors who live between Oakdale and Roselle, and between Floyd and Briggsmore, live within the Orchard Park Neighborhood Alliance boundaries. They may be one of almost 130 neighbors in Mike Casares’ Facebook group, Orchard Park Neighborhood, started up December of 2013, or almost 530 neighbors connected to Orchard Park Alliance’s Facebook page, born September of 2014, or almost 800 neighbors connected on, created in April of 2014.

Nextdoor features include Urgent Alerts, categories, nearby neighborhoods, address verification, and more, but many neighbors aren’t online at all.

All neighbors received one of roughly 3,000 surveys we sent out in July of 2015, after we joined under Modesto Neighborhoods, Inc’s nonprofit umbrella. That mailer was generously printed by the Modesto Police Department, and St. Joseph’s donated the postage. We are still receiving survey submissions via our Google Form linked in the Welcome Packet pinned to the top of our Facebook page–have you added your voice?

Our first in-person meeting with MPD was in Orchard Park on June 24, 2014, and several gatherings have followed, but we now hold monthly steering committee meetings every third Wednesday at 7pm, usually at St Joseph’s offices. Email to RSVP or add an item to the agenda.

Although we held National Night Out potlucks in the park in August for 2014 & 2015, in 2016 we wanted to start focusing more on holding NNO potlucks on our own individual streets to grow community with immediate neighbors in the coming years. You can register your street here:

We presented at Modesto Police Department’s Town Hall in April of 2015, and continue to attend MPD events like Town Halls, Coffee with the Cops, and a Standing with You event organized to appreciate law enforcement in May of 2016. We look forward to meeting you at MPD’s A Night of Great Neighbors coming up on May 20, 2017 in Orchard Park.

We requested the MPD Armadillo be placed in Orchard Park for June of 2015, July of 2016, and January of 2017 to discourage crime (‘15) and deter illegal fireworks (‘16-’17). We will continue to request it every Independence Day and New Year’s Eve as much as it is available, as it has been very effective as a deterrent in the past.

All are welcome to have a rest on our new park bench placed in early February by the middle walkway overlooking Orchard Park’s soccer field. St. Jo’s generously donated the funds for that, too, and it was placed there not by a crane (due to heavy rains), but muscled there by a crew of hard-working Parks & Rec employees. Its dedication medallions thanking St Jo’s for their donation features Orchard Park Alliance’s logo designed by our treasurer Otto Werner’s son, Jesse, in May of 2015.

For our first Love Modesto in the park in April of 2015, we weeded, sanitized, picked up garbage, replaced basketball hoops, pruned, and removed tagging. We did the same project in 2016, and a different project in the park this year raising funds for the Cleansing Hope Shower Shuttle and Feed Modesto. Did you donate? Never too late!

Not all of our neighbors have homes, therefore Neighborhood Homelessness Engagement Training has been a focus since April of 2016, when the training was in its pilot stage of development. We look forward to the next training hosted by Focus on Prevention on May 18, 2017.

Several of us of, at all levels of ability, sang together for Christmas Caroling in 2015 and 2016, organized by neighbors Cathy Schloss and the Bartletts. Hopefully we will get together for that for years to come. So fun!

There are some pics attached to this article, but we invite you to check out even more at our social media accounts mentioned at the beginning, and a slideshow on our page published on Modesto Neighborhoods, Inc’s website in June of 2016:

We’ll See You:

May 12 – MPD’s NHW Coordinators Appreciation Picnic at Graceada 5:30pm

May 17 – Monthly steering committee meeting (see map flyer)

May 18 – Neighborhood Homelessness Engagement Training (see flyer)

May 20 – Community Yard Sale (join for details)

May 20 – MPD’s A Night of Great Neighbors in Orchard Park (see flyer)

Posted in: community, news

About the Author:

Maryann Spikes holds an Associate of Arts degree in Humanities through Modesto Junior College, manages the Positive Modesto News page on Facebook, and enjoys coordinating Orchard Park Neighborhood Alliance under the umbrella of Modesto Neighborhoods Inc. Her favorite local coffee shop is the Queen Bean, and she calls Redeemer home. Maryann and her husband, Lee, are very proud of their young men, Ethan and David. Email Maryann at with CommunityView story ideas.