We've covered several stories in the past year involving the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee. They've cleaned up their streets in more ways than one. And now two members are teaming up with the city to spread some knowledge and bring back new ideas.
"Do something, instead of nothing," said James Moreland.
That's easier said than done, but he and his neighbors around Lierman Avenue have actually done it.
"I'm so happy we put a light on these two blocks on the corner because it was dark," he said as he referenced the two new street lights near his house."
"I think they're, in Lierman a very good example, especially with that beautiful garden," said Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing.
She's talking about the community garden on Lierman and Washington Avenue. It was bustling last summer as volunteers prepped for a fall harvest. But months earlier it was nothing but an empty lot.
"Just be an example that you can do something. Even if it's just to pick up trash down the block, you can do that," said Moreland.
And yes, his neighborhood literally has done that, too. Now that grassroots initiative will tag along with him and another member as they join the city's Neighborhood Safety Task Force, a group determined to curb crime.
"It's the citizens who live in the area, it's the police department, it's the building inspectors," said Prussing.
Those inspectors helped shut down dilapidated town homes in Moreland's neighborhood. Prussing says when landlords neglect their properties they can turn into a haven for crime.
"It's not just chasing after somebody if they commit a crime, it's trying to prevent problems and that is a huge issue we try approach it from every way we can," she said.
With Moreland now on board, the bar has risen. He wants more street lights, more patrols and a chance to make his community an example for the right reasons.
"Just try to make people like this neighborhood. I'd like it to become the safest neighborhood in Champaign-Urbana," he said.
Clyde Walker is the other Lierman member joining the task force. Both he and Moreland have lived in Urbana for a combined 100 years.