Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who Was Baker?

Baker's Field Clean-up Day is just a few days away, Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 at 8 am. But one question remains, who is (or was) this Baker person?

The large stone at the north-east corner of the field once had a plaque dedicated to Baker. I remember seeing the plaque before it was removed but I don't remember anything that it said. I also remember seeing a picture of the plaque online a few years ago, but after searching and searching I can't seem to find the picture again.

As a fan of Erie history I'm guessing that the Baker story is a fairly interesting one. I'm hoping that by sharing these two pictures we'll generate some interest in the story and maybe even get in touch with someone who knows the field's background. And it won't hurt to have a little extra publicity for our clean-up day.

If you are reading this and you know anything about the background of "Baker's Field" please email:

This is the picture that should "show up" better on laptops and big-ole computers.

This smaller picture will ideally look better on your phone.

As soon as I know something I'll post the information. Also, please join us for Baker's Field Clean-up Day August 3rd!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Baker's Field Clean-up Day: PLANS

I'm looking forward to our Baker's Field Clean-up Day, which is August 3rd. We'll meet at the Field at 8:00 am and work for at least a few hours. I've worked on some goals, bearing in mind that I think we should have realistic expectations for one day of work. My main goal, other than the physical changes we will complete that day, is to raise the expectations people have for the field itself. As of right now, expectations are fairly low. The field is used frequently by large groups of people but there are no garbage cans. A large stone, which was placed there to honor someone (named Baker, right?), is covered with spray paint. The baseball practice facility looks a little rough. This has to change.

It won't change overnight. I'm hoping our first clean-up day will be the first of many. With that in mind here are what I hope to be some realistic goals for August 3rd. 

The Stone 
The bare minimum: remove spray paint
Realistic goal for August 3rd: Plant a small mulched flower bed "in front" of the stone, between the stone and the corner of the sidewalk. Possibly paint the stone.
Eventually: Either replace the original plaque, or paint the stone and paint "Baker's Field" on the front. 

The Baseball Practice Facility

The Bare Minimum: Remove all of the large plants growing around the perimeter of the fence
Realistic Goal for August 3rd: With cooperation from the school district, work inside the facility as well. 
Eventually: Large signs on the fence reading, "Baker's Field: City of Erie School District, Adopted by Academy Neighborhood Association" and maybe "If you use this field please 1. Dispose of all garbage 2. Clean up after animals 3. Consider donating to the Academy Neighborhood Association". Maybe a giant "Central Falcons Baseball"? I'm sure many people who have gone to Central would find a sense of price in something like that.

The Sidewalks
The Bare Minimum: "Edge" as much as possible, use weedkiller (or if we decide not to use chemicals that is o.k. with me) to get rid of grass and weeds growing through sidewalk. 
Realistic Goal for August 3rd: See above ^. This might not seem like a big deal, but I think it plays into the whole "raising expectations" aspect of what we are trying to accomplish. If the field looks nicer hopefully people's expectations for the field will increase. 
Eventually: There are many areas where the sidewalk is uneven making it difficult for anyone using a wheel chair to navigate. The sidewalk doesn't need to be rebuilt but small concrete "ramps" or "inclines" will help to smooth transitions between different levels of sidewalk. 

The Intersections
All of the intersections should have crosswalks, especially in an area used frequently by children. This is an issue we can address with the City of Erie. 

Other Ideas
Some of these are "eventually" some of these are "sooner than later".
Garbage and recycling cans: sooner than later. Possibly donated by a local business?
A small shelter/pavilion with a picnic table: eventually. This would give people who are watching games or practices a place to sit and relax. Also - a good place for summer kids programs to take place. And a good place for a little free library.

This is just a starting point. Basically, not much is being done at this field as of right now so anything we do will be a positive step. These plans aren't written in stone. Anyone with suggestions or ideas please feel free to share them. And, just to be clear...

BAKER'S FIELD CLEAN-UP DAY: AUGUST 3rd, 2013, starting at 8 am
We will need all landscaping tools, garbage cans, cans and bags for "yard waste" such as clippings etc.
Stay for 5 minutes or 5 hours!
More updates in the next few weeks.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Second Saturday Neighborhood Walk - July 13th

The Academy Neighborhood Association's mission statement includes the phrase, "to promote strong community ties". With that part of the statement in mind, we are asking you to join us on the second Saturday of each month for a neighborhood walk. Basically, this is a bunch of neighbors getting together to walk around the neighborhood, share ideas, and burn off a few calories.

This is already happening in Glenwood but I swear we thought of it first! Or maybe at the same time. 

At any rate, there is no sign up or registration required. There is no fitness level requirement and all friends and families in the neighborhood are welcome. There is no set route, although I would like to walk up by Baker's Field to take a closer look at what we can do during our clean up day, coming up on August 3rd.

This is a strictly "for fun" event. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 13th, 8 a.m., in front of Uptown's at E. 30th and German.

Join us on Facebook!

We are joining Neighborhood Watch

The Academy Neighborhood Association is becoming an official member of the Erie Council of Neighborhood Watch Groups. At the last meeting, June 20th, the members voted 5-0 to inform the Council that we wanted to join their coalition. 

Basically, the decision puts us "on the map" in a figurative and literal sense. We will now be recognized as an official group by the Erie Council, which is recognized and supported   by various government agencies. We will also be placed on the official map of neighborhood watch groups, which can be viewed at the Erie Neighborhood Watch Council site.  

The ENWC is currently undergoing a leadership change. From what I read in this article in the Erie Times-News the council's leaders are looking to work with groups to help with neighborhood development projects - a perfect fit for our organization!

I had emailed the previous head of the council with our intentions, but I didn't realize she was on her way out the door. So I'll be calling the council's office Monday morning to let them know basically that we exist. 

This brings up the issue of our "map". I have drawn up a much smaller version of the original map of the neighborhood. You can see it in the shaded green areas below. Please know that this map is flexible. If you have a strong reason for changing one of the areas or expanding or contracting the map please let me know or attend one of our meetings.

Here it is... 

Every home on this map (the entire white area) has received, twice, information about the Academy Neighborhood Association. I drew up the smaller area highlighted in green based on the following:
1. Homes of people who have attended meetings.
2. Homes of people who contacted the Association about participating in the neighborhood yard sale.
3. Discussions about the neighborhood that took place at our two meetings.
4. There is another neighborhood watch group on East 28th and East 27th. It is a small group called the Brickyard Neighborhood Watch. I have contacted the woman who is organizing the Brickyard group and I think we can work very closely with her and her group. 

Basically if the map is marked green, people from that area have "gotten involved" in one way or another. If it is still white, no one from that area has contacted or been involved with an Academy Neighborhood Association activity.

As always, the map is subject to change, with your input.

Neighborhood Yard Sale - June 7, 2014

Whoa, that seems like a long time from now. At our last meeting we agreed to keep the date basically the same - two Saturdays after the Memorial Day weekend. The next sale will be Saturday, June 7th, 2014.


I felt like things were kind of "meh". Not a lot of traffic, gloomy weather, and not the level of excitement I felt in 2012. At the last meeting (June 20th) everyone in attendance basically came to the same conclusion: there needs to be a paid advertisement in the Erie Times-News. All of the free notices, ads, and listings are still a big part of the picture, but that paid advertisement needs to happen to really put the sale on people's radar.


I learned a very hard lesson about where to place signs. Apparently, if you place signs in the median on State Street they will be taken down. The same applies to East 38th St. near the V.A. My wife and I made 9 signs like this...

and six of them were taken down, and taken down within a matter of hours. So "campaign style" signs are not allowed in the medians, and apparently this rule is strictly and swiftly enforced. Wouldn't it be nice if all of the zoning and property violations in the neighborhood were this quickly dispatched? 

We did decide at the last meeting that we need to have larger, crazier signs in the days leading up to the sale. Now that more people are involved in the association, I think it would be fun to have a pre-sale sign making party.


If you have a suggestion, idea, or improvement to help the neighborhood sale run more smoothly or attract more people please let us know. You can email me at or attend one of our upcoming meetings, although as of today, July 7th, we don't have a meeting scheduled. We do have these two events:

Neighborhood Family Walk: Saturday, July 13th, 8 a.m. meet in front of Uptown's
Baker's Field Clean Up: Saturday, August 3rd, 8 a.m.