Granite Shoals plans block parties to 'Know Your Neighbor'

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Alan Williams, owner of the Marble Falls Chick-fil-A franchise, descirbes the Know Your Neighbor program for the Granite Shoals City Council Tuesday, July 11. Jim Hendee, not pictured, manager of Lowe's was also present to add a Turquoise Table feature to the program being backed by Granite Shoals Faith Alliance. Viewed on screens in council chambers was a video about Know Your Neighbor as it began in Westlake and Rollingwood neighborhoods.







By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

A presentation by the Granite Shoals Faith Alliance and discussion of a new social media initiative aimed at drawing neighborhoods together captured the interest of the Granite Shoals City Council Tuesday, July 11.

“We at the Alliance have been working for the past two years to bring our city together,” said Ray Keesler of Abundant Heart Ministries. “This is a way to bring neighbors together block by block.

“We were delighted when Alan Williams of Chick-fil-A came along and offered a simple, fun way with the Know Your Neighbor program.”

Alliance members Jackie English of Christ Redeemer Church and Mike Mitchell of Granite Fellowship Church were also at the meeting where they made it clear they were supporting the new program, not an a church program, but as willing workers to bring the program together.

Williams used the example of a block party that in his old neighborhood in Westlake that grew into a program that was even supported by the Austin Police Department. Just as in the first program based on the “art of neighboring” he had learned about through his former church congregation, he said he would provide chicken sandwiches for small neighborhood parties where people could get to know one another in a “non-creepy way.”

“For 26 weeks, every other week, we will have these small gatherings,” said Keesler. “The Granite Shoals police and fire departments will help block off a street for each one and bring off-duty officers to get to know people. In the end, we would like to bring everyone together for a big celebration.”

“Jim Hendee, the general manager at Lowe's will donate 26 tables to be painted for the Turquoise Table program,” said English.

Turquoise Table is another, broader grassroots effort to bring people together.

“We would leave a Turquoise Table in each neighborhood as a friendly gathering place,” said Williams.

City Secretary Elaine Simpson told the council that Granite Shoals is to be included in the launch of Nextdoor (, the private social network for neighborhoods, to foster neighbor-to-neighbor and citywide communication.

The program already has begun in Marble Falls offering closed social media sites for people within specific neighborhood boundaries.

“All of Granite Shoals will be one neighborhood in this program,” said Simpson. “We are just learning about it. When we passed our social media resolution for the city, we didn't even know Nextdoor existed.”

Also among discussions at the meeting, the council agreed to do what it could to combat the invasion of non-native Zebra Mussels in the Highland Lakes. The small, non-indigenous bi-valves can form clusters that block water system and power plant intakes, the shells can cut feet and their presence changes the ecology of the lakes they infest.

The council plans to contact the Lower Colorado River Authority about whether signage is available that could be used in Granite Shoals parks to give instructions on cleaning boats to avoid transfer of the mussel larvae.

Roy Settlemyre fired another shot across the bow of the council in his longstanding opposition of annexation of the Green Valley section of the old Sherwood Shores II subdivision.

“I think a judge will have to decide this now,” he said.

Terry Wilson was at the meeting, but in his usual guise as State Dist. 20 Representative. He is a Scout Master with Troop 284 and he brought a group of Boy Scouts who had finished a day of boating at his Granite Shoals home to satisfy their community and nation requirements. Wilson said the troop has members from Granite Shoals, Marble Falls and Kingsland.

The council will meet again Tuesday, July 18, for a budget workshop and to consider a schedule for public hearings on the proposed budget and tax rate.

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