Young Leaders Put on a Show

Saturday, January 20th was a festive day at Town Hall. One of our veteran volunteers and general mover and shaker, Debbie Pidgeon, created and spearheaded the first Kids Talent Show. “ I wanted to give our kids the chance to experience what it is like to be up on a stage and engage in public speaking. The more opportunities they have to practice when they are young the more comfortable they will be as adults”.
The talent demonstrations ranged from a magician to a show-stopping vocal and pink air-guitar performance. The talent did not stop with the performers. The two youth MCs offered their humor and speaking abilities as they seamlessly guided the audience through the show with grace and humor. Pictured are the youth participants.

Emcees: Paula Hopkins and Peter Certo
Lucy Certo, 8
Marion McConnell, 7
Owen Pritchard, 7
Caroline Smith, 5
Sophia Pidgeon, 6
Kate Certo, 6
Vera McConnell, 9
Sheridan Newcomb, 7

Woodruff Place 101

Woodruff Place 101
I had the pleasure of sitting down with our new Civic League President, Matt Belsaas in January. I was one of the first people to take advantage of the weekly office hours he is now offering to any Woodruffian who wants to get more involved. As I am relatively new as a Woodruff resident and Urban Times contributor – a great excuse to publish a short guide for getting involved in the neighborhood. In months to come I will continue to highlight information that could help current and future active residents contribute to the neighborhood initiatives.

Every year the neighborhood is responsible for raising around $100,000 to support the neighborhood financial goals and to ensure that our esplanades and Town Hall are looking great and contributing to the Woodruff experience. The following is a list of regularly occurring fundraising events you can participate in.

● Flea Market
● Bi-annual home and garden tour
● Progressive Dinner
● Casino Woodruff

There are many more fundraising initiatives taking place year round, however, if you don’t know much about that you can start by attending one of these fun events lovingly facilitated but our rockstar volunteers. For complete information about fundraising and an organizational break down you can visit

Holidays at Woodruff Place
The first 4th of July I spent with the Woodruff gang was in 2014. I was immediately impressed by the umbrella wielding and lawn chair flaunting that commenced through our streets. The kids were cute too, vying for age group category awards for most festive and patriotic attire and hardware in the parade. The Fountains themselves tell the story of changing seasons and neighborhood caroling is known to take place each year. For our young residents we put on a Halloween party and Easter egg hunt. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to plan and execute these fine experiences. Debbie Pidgeon would be a great person to talk to if you want to get involved.

Leaders in Training
If you have young people in your house and would like to instill leadership principles and practice at a young age, you are in good company in this neighborhood. There are virtually endless volunteer opportunities from various fundraiser, cleanups, and other neighborhood initiatives and their facilitators that would gladly utilize the skills and enthusiasm of your young leaders-in-training.

Town Hall Rental
The Woodruff Place Town Hall is available for members to rent for meetings and social functions. This is a fundraising line item, so booking your event is a patriotic thing to do. The space really lends itself to any event that has outgrown your dining and living room. Please visit for rental information.

Woodrufff Place Website
If you have any questions about who to talk to or want to read bylaws and know event dates, you will likely find your answer on our website,

Where any two or more Woodruffians gather…
Shortly after moving to the neighborhood in 2014 two things became evident to me and my family.

1. Woodruff Residents are leaders
It takes commitment and enthusiasm to sustain the extracurricular activities that uphold the state of Woodruff grounds and bank accounts. The weekly, monthly, and annual activities in the neigborhood are designed and delivered by leaders who are willing to do what is required of them and more to ensure our neighborhood operates and innovates for the greater good of our residents.

2. When two or more Woodruffians gather there will be libations
The traveling keg on the 4th of July, the porch parties, the Town Hall meetings – corks and tabs pop year round. Cheers!

If you want to get more involved with neighborhood happenings and don’t know where to start, I would recommend scheduling your office hours session with Civic League President Matt Belsaas on Thursdays between 12-1pm. You can email him at to set that up.

For future neighborhood Urban Times stories and contributions please contact Emily Tornquist


In January, Bill Brooks and the Urban Times staff brought together each of the historic neighborhoods in the papers’ circulation. Each neighborhood was given the opportunity to talk about their community: what’s working, how they gather neighbor feedback, what challenges are being faced. I was proud to stand up and say that Woodruff Place has over 175 active members in our Civic League, up from 67 in November. Which leads me to what I ranked as my number one thing that we do really, really well: We organize. Cleanups, events, fundraising campaigns, meal trains, committees, boards and of course the implementation of the Economic Improvement District. Our neighborhood volunteer ranks are incredibly complex but we’re all working towards the goal of preserving Woodruff Place for the next generation of Woodruffians. At our last general membership meeting, Doreen Tatnall shared a brief history of density reduction efforts over the past 35 years in which the neighborhood and individual neighbors have collectively reduced the housing stock in Woodruff Place by over 140 units. This is not because we are opposed to apartments, but we are in favor of preservation and returning these properties to their original intended use. Our neighborhood is listed on the historical register due to the gathering of unique architectural styles, and we could not be more proud than to act as stewards to this amazing place we call home.

The next general membership meeting: March 12, 2018 – Town Hall, 7:00 PM

Office Hours

New Civic League President Matt Belsaas is holding office hours each week on Thursdays between 12-1pm. This is an opportunity for neighbors to stay informed about opportunities to help,  current events, and the inner workings of neighborhood business. “Lunchtime office hours provide an avenue for  collaboration in addition to evening meetings.” Matt encourages neighbors to schedule face time anytime it would help you help the neighborhood.   You can email Matt at to reserve your office hours.