Neighborhood workshop and awards

2013 Neighborhood Award Winners



2013 Neighborhood Award Winners


This category of the Neighborhood Awards honors residential properties that enhance and improve the community’s appearance. Individuals and neighborhood groups were encouraged to nominate any property or project that provides an outstanding visual contribution to the City of Tempe. This category of the Neighborhood Awards honors residential properties that enhance and improve the community’s appearance. Individuals and neighborhood groups were encouraged to nominate any property or project that provides an outstanding visual contribution to the City of Tempe.

Photos of the homes 

The Benson family home is a beautiful, impeccably maintained, cottage-style home in Buena Vista Ranchos in South Tempe. It’s set amid huge Ash trees and a perfectly manicured lawn. The pride the Benson’s take in their home is reason enough to nominate them for this award, but it is the terrific holiday display they create each year which most deserves recognition. On Thanksgiving evening, the lights are turned on the Holiday Season is officially kicked off in Buenos Vista. The display brings warmth and joy to the neighborhood and community. Not only do they share their creativity, they are also putting their generosity on display, as they also collect of food items for charity. These actions are what makes the Benson family so deserving.

Jim and Lyn moved into their neighborhood in 1999 and he has been working on their house ever since. Since he began, Jim has transformed the look of their home, making it a point of pride in the neighborhood. Jim has also shown amazing kindness not only helping out his neighbors with work on their homes but also loaning out his tools whenever it would help their neighbors with a project.

Southwest Bible Fellowship purchased their property in Mitchell Park West about a year and a half ago. At the time, the property’s external appearance was a bit run down, in need of paint and general clean up. Almost immediately, the church began making improvements to the property, planting new plants, fixing up the roof, and adding a fresh coat of paint. The church and its grounds are still meticulously cared for by one of their members, and it only enhances the character and beauty of the neighborhood.

The Youngbulls are a young family who moved to the Alameda Estates neighborhood in 2008. This year, wanting their front yard to be an area where their young son could play and where they could welcome neighbors and friends, they undertook a massive renovation of their front yard and the effect has been transformative for their cul de sac.

The Youngbulls installed hardscape, a curving wall, a sunken seating area, an artistic gate, and many trees, cactus and flowering plants. It’s a wonderful place to relax with friends and get to know what’s going in in their neighborhood.

Ellertson-Wilson Community Garden
Donna LaGuardia and Jackie Jaap had been involved with the Tempe Urban Garden located at 5th St. and Forest before closed, and they were intent on building a new community garden to help foster the community and promote sustainability in the Mitchell Park area.

A neighbor suggested they approach John and Laura Ellertson about a vacant plot of land on one of their properties in the Mitchell Park East Neighborhood.

The Ellertsons agreed that a garden in the area would enhance their neighborhood, and in exchange for use of the property, the garden volunteers maintain the landscaping on the rest of the property and keep the area neat and tidy while growing organic and delicious vegetables right in Mitchell Park.

The Garden operates entirely on volunteers and donations. And they are kind enough to donate the produce to the Tempe Community Action Agency Food Pantry and Escalante Community Center.

The Garden ended up creating a community around working and helping out in the garden.

Moe Krugen has long made sure that not only is his alleyway clean but that the surrounding area is kept clean as well. In what can only be called true dedication to his neighborhood, Moe cleans his alley almost every day. This type of devotion to your community and neighborhood is truly a rare thing, and Moe’s neighbors wanted to make sure that his dedication did not go unnoticed.

Trevor Barger exerted a special effort to make his home and his neighborhood special. The landscape of the house he owns in the Mitchell Park West neighborhood is extended onto both sides of the alley, creating a modern and beautiful environment, free of weeds and trash. Also, when designing this landscape, he chose plants that are drought tolerant and able to stand the extreme weather we sometimes have here in the Valley. Trevor’s neighbors in Mitchell Park West encourage homeowners to adopt his sustainable concept and take pride in their neighborhood, as he has.

When Trevor heard of his Alley Upkeep nomination, he asked that we also mention his former neighbor Christian Leefeldt, who will be moving back to the neighborhood soon and is responsible for the attractive cactus plantings in the alleyway. Sounds like Mitchell Park West will be lucky to have Mr. Leefeldt back in their neighborhood.

The Tempe City Council created the Neighbor of the Year Awards in 1995 and dedicated them in honor of the contributions and memory of Chuck Malpede. Each honoree receiving these awards carries on this tradition by demonstrating the same commitment to and passion for improving and maintaining the highest quality of life in Tempe's neighborhoods.

William Gibson goes above and beyond when it comes to helping his neighbors. William lends his time and his tools to his neighbors and sets an example of generosity and kindness. His nominee tells of William’s assistance replacing leaky sprinklers, re-seeding their grass and further remarked that everyone should be lucky enough to have a neighbor like William. 

Pat has been a hardworking member of the Mitchell Park West Board for three years, and during this time, she’s done it all. She’s spearheaded the neighborhood grant application, winning a grant of 22 new trees all to be planted in Mitchell Park and in front yards to create shade. When the neighborhood association applied for a grant for speed bumps on 13th Street, Pat was out, knocking on doors and gathering the necessary signatures. She helps organize the Mitchell Park potlucks and was instrumental in getting the children involved with art projects at these events. All in all, Pat is wonderful neighbor, always cheerful and friendly, and her neighbors wanted to honor her here today for all her hard work. 

Stan Patton is a great neighbor. He’s always willing and ready to assist neighbors and he has a saying, “Neighbors don’t get invoices.” If you need to borrow a tool or a ladder, replace a light switch, make a quick repair of nearly any type, Stan’s always ready to help and his rule always applies. If a repair is needed to one of the community walls, or if a brick needs to be replaced or graffiti must be erased, Stan is quick to step in to help with “no invoice.” He also provides sage advice for potential community improvement projects, and his advice is always invaluable. 

To her neighbors, Katherine Zeiders is the heart and soul of the Tempe Gardens Neighborhood Association. The Association had been inactive before Katie and her neighbors rekindled interest in their neighborhood. Katie played a key role in sparking interest and uniting the neighborhood in order to improve the community.

Shortly after reinvigorating their neighborhood association, Tempe Gardens applied for and was awarded funding for a neighborhood grant. Her neighbors feel that without Katie, this project never would have reached fruition. She worked tirelessly with neighbors, city staff and the selected artist to deliver a wonderful seating area in Tempe Gardens. Neighbors say that Katie is a class act and are grateful for all the hard work that she has done to improve her community 

Knoell Gardens is a community of 104 homes in southwest Tempe near Baseline Road and 48th St. Millie has lived in the community since its inception some 40 years ago and has been an active force in keeping the community safe and well maintained. She has served on the HOA Board for a total of 17 years and has never been afraid to be proactive and tackle the problems. And all this hard work and energy comes in a five foot tall (if that!) woman in her 89th year and despite her medical setbacks over the last couple of years she has endured with the same spirit and devotion to her community that she exhibited over the past twenty years or more.


Karyn is a founding member of the Maple Ash Neighborhood Association (MANA) and she has continuously been active for the past 26 years. She has until recently served as chairperson for six years.

Karyn has done so much to foster her community and her neighborhood association, through the organization of such annual events as the Fall potluck/G.A.I.N. neighborhood elections event; the spring ice cream social; the March neighborhood awards ceremony at Casey Moore’s; the holiday charitable giving project; the blanketing the neighborhood with holiday luminarias and the neighborhood Christmas Eve party; These events have been an institution in the Maple Ash Neighborhood for more than two decades.

Karyn has also done much to improve the beauty and charter of her neighborhood. In fact, she was in charge of two of the Maryanne Corder Neighborhood Grants for Maple Ash NA’s four award-winning flood irrigation standpipes.

Karyn also works to keep her neighborhood in touch with each other by continuing to manage the Maple Ash NA and Northwest Tempe Neighborhood email distribution lists. These lists help broadcast information about anything from city and local community events, criminal activity in the area, lost and found pets, rentals and home sales, to local business offerings and so on.

Finally, Karyn has been fighting to preserve the oldest remaining neighborhood for many years and is a huge advocate and supporter of neighborhood preservation. Maple Ash can currently boast that they have 16 homes on the Tempe Historic Property Register; and that 10 of these historic homes were added during Karyn’s tenure as MANA chairperson.