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Timberlake Community holding get-together

Since 2016 the residents of the Timberlake community in Mount Airy have been working together and with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office to bring their neighborhood back from the scourge of drugs in their neighborhood.

Those efforts continue Saturday, with the Sixth Annual Neighborhood Get-Together and Weenie Roast. The get-together, set for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., will be a chance for the residents of the Timberlake Community to have fun, highlight neighborhood vendors and raise money for ongoing community improvement plans.

Timberlake, also known as Simmonstown, had become synonymous with the drug trade and found people on foot soliciting for illicit substances. Rather than allow this to continue, the community stood up to take back their streets and improve the area for future generations.

The Project Timberlake Community Organization began its work with simple community organizing. “A lot of the neighbors I talked to, they were wanting to do something about the drug problem,” said concerned resident Barbara France back at the time of Project Timberlake’s launch. “That’s when I decided to contact the sheriff’s office and see if we could get a Neighborhood Watch program started.”

A walk through Timberlake today sees a respectable neighborhood like many others in Mount Airy with maintained yards, gardens and signs of community support. This was not always the case though as France, a Timberlake resident since 1976, reminded, “Kids could see the drug dealers just standing there at the corner of Gaylon Street and Eleanor Avenue making an easy dollar.” This was something residents such as the late Martha Joyce could no longer stand, so she and other concerned residents helped organize a solution.

For the past six years Project Timberlake has been having their get together to allow residents to raise money and awareness for the efforts at community improvement. During a daytime walk through Timberlake, France pointed out some changes the community group has already made such as adding neon ‘Children at Play’ signs. “There really isn’t any place for these kids to play, and people were just zipping around here,” France said.

Also a new bold “Neighborhood Watch Zone” sign greets drivers as they pull onto Gaylon Street to announce these residents have eyes and ears, and will use them to report suspicious activity. “See something; say something – that’s how we did it. See something, call the sheriff,” France said.

Forming the Neighborhood Watch and improving relations between residents and law enforcement was a key to the improvements seen in Timberlake since the Project launched in 2016. “Getting together and getting to know each other is the first step,” said Deputy Brian Thomas to the first community get-together in 2016. “It (a watch program) costs nothing, and it actually does prevent crime.”

Barbara France does see that the situation on the ground in the Timberlake community has improved since their initiatives began six years ago. It takes a whole community effort and France readily points out that people were working on this before she got so deeply involved. The work is ongoing, and for the neighbors of Timberlake now is not the time to stop improving the neighborhood.

The future home of the Timberlake Community Center has been built on Gaylon St. and is currently owned by Kenneth Robinson. Robinson intends to donate the building to the community, but the building needs work before that can be done.

France sees great potential in the community center as place for the neighborhood kids to play or a meeting place for senior citizens groups. Raising funds through this event will allow for improvements to the building and the land it sits on so that the center can be completed.

The event will have a Halloween costume contest for kids and adults, corn-hole, neighborhood vendors and a weenie roast. There will be door prizes, 50/50 Bingo and a 50” flat screen television will also be given away. The Surry County Sheriff’s Office will be represented again at this year’s community event to reiterate their commitment to the community.

Project Timberlake’s Sixth Annual Neighborhood Get-Together and Weenie Roast is being held Oct. 30 at Family Worship Center located at 187 Gaylon St. from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m..



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