Before moving to Northland's Devonshire neighborhood in September 2016, Ed Kowalski had only a hazy notion about civic associations.
"Prior to coming to the area, I'd always rented, so I equated civic associations to homeowners associations. They charged you a fee and told you how high your fence could be and what you can plant," Kowalski said.
The Devonshire Civic Association, founded in 1962 as possibly one of the first subdivision to have such an organization when Northland was developing, went out of existence in December 2010. Chuck Parker, then the association's president, reluctantly announced his decision.
"After eight years, I'm just frankly tired of doing it and not getting any support from the community," Parker told ThisWeek Northland News at the time.
Last spring, Northland native Ruth Johnson, who had moved to Devonshire after eight years in the North Linden area, noticed a lot of chatter among her neighbors on NextDoor, a private social network for neighborhoods, and decided maybe the time was ripe to restart a civic association.
"Just with all the discussion I thought, 'Well, now is the time; these people are interested. Let's take it and run with it, see what we can do,' " Johnson said.
Johnson contacted Parker and got a copy of the constitution under which the original association operated. The first meeting for the proposed new association took place in July 2017.
The resurrected organization once again became a member of the Northland Community Council at the May 1 session.
"Most people were quite happy that we were bringing it back," Johnson said. "The vast majority of people who understand civic (associations) know that the community definitely needs this.
"I started out with all four officers but, of course, some people have moved from the area and others found it was not for them," she said. "It's down to myself and my vice president and a couple of trustees. I do have some volunteers."
Kowalski is the vice president. He said he saw the posted signs and online notices about the effort to restart the organization.
"We plan to be here for at least 30 years, so we might as well get involved," he said. "Now I see it as more of a voice for the neighborhood. We're listening to the concerns of the residents.
"With our recent membership in the Northland Community Council, we're providing a voice on that council, so things that happen in the Northland area they actually have a say in it."
NCC President Alicia Ward is delighted at the return of Devonshire's civic association.
"We are so glad to have them back in NCC," she said. "It's a lot of work to get a civic association up and running again. To have them do all that hard work and getting that area going again shows a lot of commitment that they have to their neighbors and their neighborhood. It's really great to see people caring like that.
"The more members we have in NCC, the better off Northland is because we all work together to make the area better," Ward said.
"We're still trying to make the rest of the people in Devonshire aware of the civic (association) and educate them about what it is, that it's definitely not (a homeowners association)," Johnson said.
"There was some confusion over that. Over a period of time, we'll get more people volunteering for different things."
The Devonshire Civic Association meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month in St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1450 E. Dublin-Granville Road.