Walkability, diverse age groups, front porches contribute to sense of community
“Everyone in Lakeside appears to know one another,” remarked a judge at the October 2019 National Night Out (NNO) festivities held in Northwood Park. That observation of Lakeside’s spirit and sense of community broke through all the distractions on that unseasonably warm Saturday (including children running in every direction and owners trying to control 20 dogs competing in a canine costume contest).
“Lakeside is very interesting,” said Gil Metzger, who organized the Lakeside Homeowners Association Crime Watch in 2017 by persuading over half of the homeowners to sign a petition supporting it.
“The homeowners come from a diverse set of age groups, cultures and careers,” Metzger explained.
“But one thing is universal, everyone is friendly and inviting. When I was collecting signatures to establish the Lakeside Neighborhood Watch. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality I received from everyone in Lakeside.”
“It is a cool lifestyle. We see each other frequently on the sidewalks and boardwalk and in the shops, parks, and restaurants.”
— Holly Homer,
NNO Lakeside co-organizer
“People walk around here at night more than in other neighborhoods,” he added. “It has a social aspect that is special.”
“When you move to Lakeside,” explained Jenice Pizzuto, one of the organizers of the NNO event, “you receive a Texas-sized welcome. The community embraces diversity and is passionate about coming together and supporting one another.”
“Many Lakeside homes have front porches,” added Holly Homer, another organizer, “and people like to get out and walk around. It is such a different environment from where we lived before. That neighborhood didn’t even have sidewalks.
“We’ve really connected with neighbors. It is a cool lifestyle. We see each other frequently on the sidewalks and boardwalk and in the shops, parks, and restaurants.”
To attract a good-sized crowd to the 2019 National Night Out event, organizers came with the idea of a dog costume contest. The idea was a winner.
“It is the perfect event for Lakeside,” said another organizer, Kathy Frisbie, who conducted the show and announced each contestant as they walked the runway.
“Lakeside is so canine friendly!” she explained. “We have our own dog park, and we are blessed with so many dog watering stations.
“Since Lakeside is a ‘walking community,’ it makes sense that dog owners are very familiar with each other and their dogs. In many cases, we may not know our neighbor’s name, but we know her dog’s name!”
“Dogs are family in Lakeside,” she added. “Many of us know each other through our dogs!”
So, in Lakeside there appears to be a sense of community among dogs as well as the human.
The team from the town (including State Representative Tan Parker plus one police department and one fire department representative) served as judges of the costume contest that included 20 contestants.
They awarded Kylie McDaniel, who sported a pink ballerina costume, the top prize.
Kylie narrowly beat out dogs dressed as a teddy bear, a bumblebee, a guitar-wielding rock star, and the guys from Duck Dynasty showing up as “Dachshund Dynasty.”
“We like excuses to get together,” Homer laughed.
“In many ways,” agreed Frisbie, “National Night Out was not unique for us. It was just one more typical day in Lakeside — neighbors sharing their lives.” Sense of community
“With National Night Out we hope to encourage community engagement and getting to know your neighbors,” said Officer Buck, one of the judges.
“One of our goals with this event is that communities within Flower Mound grow stronger, get to know one another better, and we — as first responders — get to strengthen our relationship with the community we serve.”
On November 4, 2019, the Flower Mound Town Council presented Lakeside with the National Night Out “Neighborhood Of The Year” award (large neighborhood category). Forty-one neighborhoods took part.
A judge summed up Lakeside this way: “Unique, friendly, inviting.”