Keeping A Close Eye

BUSTI – The Cottage Park area of Busti is now under a watch.

Those doing the watching – neighbors.

The neighborhood watch program was started last fall by community resident Raymond Cansdale. So far the watch program has 19 families and 37 members involved. Cottage park is the area between First through Fifth avenues and North Avenue at the north end of Big Tree Road in Busti, near Lakewood.

”I had been thinking about it the last few years,” Cansdale said about the program. ”We’re basically on our own out here. We are a community within a community. It is about time people did something for someone else.”

Cansdale said he talked to John Bentley, Lakewood-Busti Police Department chief, about the idea to start a neighborhood watch. Cansdale was told he needed five families to participate to start the program.

”I went out and within three days I had 19 families,” he said. ”I got to meet all these people. I’d seen them around, waved to them as they passed by, but I hadn’t talked to them.”

Cansdale said he wants everyone in the family involved, including children. Through the 19 families, he said 37 people are participating. He guessed between 75 to 100 people live in the Cottage Park community. He said he is still working to talk to more families in the area about joining.

”It is nice to get the whole family involved,” he said. ”If the kids are out playing, they can be looking out too.”

The program is not just going to watch for suspicious behavior, but also make other community improvements.

”We have two daycare centers in Cottage Park. We’re working on getting signs saying ‘children at play,”’ he said. ”I’m working on getting a four-way stop sign up (at the corner of Second and North avenues). We have an empty lot of land that the town takes care of. I want to turn that into a small park. We’re doing a lot more than watching out for our neighbors. It’s not just about watching the neighborhood. It is about caring for the community.”

Cansdale said he received 24 free signs from the store manager at Lowes in Warren, Pa., for people in the program to place in a window at home.

”(The store manager) said we could get more if we need them,” Cansdale said.

The neighborhood watch has a planning committee of six people who meet once a month at Davidsons. Cansdale said he is working on finding a larger venue to hold a meeting for the whole neighborhood at a future date.

For more information or to join, call Cansdale at 526-1065.