HAYWARD -- The speeding cars, party houses, bottle-and-can scavengers and trash dumpers aren't exclusive to the Burbank neighborhood, but they're problems just the same.
They were some of the main concerns brought up by a couple dozen people at the city's latest Neighborhood Partnership Program meeting last week, and program director David Korth called them "at once unique and similar" to what he's heard before.
"Many are generic: speeding, lighting, problem houses, blight," he said. "But they are unique in terms of specifics. There's not a one-size-fits-all approach."
The partnership program is an effort the city started two years ago, aimed at working closely with residents on the particular issues that make life less pleasant in their neighborhoods.
"It helps us target what to do with our limited resources," Korth said. "We can't be on every corner; we must rely on the eyes and ears of the community."
The party house with suspicious activity?
"Give us an address," City Manager Fran David said. "We need to know exactly where it is and what's going on."
The scavengers and dumpers? Tell the city when it happens.
For the Burbank-area scavengers, that would be Monday night and early Tuesday, before the recycling truck comes around. For dumpers, it's the first and 15th of the month, when they move out of residences and are looking for a spot to unload unwanted possessions.
"Those are the kind of details that help us move on a problem," David said.
The city also heard about things particular to the neighborhood, which lies directly west of the Hayward BART station: Residents questioned plans for the weedy fenced-off patch that once was Burbank Elementary School, and wanted an update on the Cannery housing that's going up. David said she would return with answers at the second of four community meetings, scheduled for January.
The Burbank neighborhood was the 16th area that the city focused on. There have been more than 50 meetings, with some of the neighborhoods finishing the first phase of the program and moving on to the second, which involves the residents themselves mobilizing for continued city-supported action.
The program was started with meetings in Fairway Park after a car plowed into a building in 2007, the crowning achievement of speed-limit scofflaws who plagued the area.
"That was the straw that broke the camel's back," David said.
She said residents went to the city, demanding officials work with them to solve the problem. A traffic roundabout was installed as a slowing measure, and work continues with residents to further monitor and correct the problem.
Since then, the partnership project grew to include other neighborhoods throughout Hayward, including Upper B Street, Southgate, Eden Shores and West Palma Ceia.
They've worked to slow vehicles, installing more than 65 speed bumps and 43 traffic signs, and striping the asphalt with new crosswalks and studding it with rumble strips.
For crime, they've put in 50 new streetlights and upgraded 60 of them, and Hayward police have teamed with inspectors to conduct coordinated operations at numerous problem properties, doing warrant checks and searching for drug and code violations.
The city is dedicated to remaining in contact and helping the neighborhoods, Korth said.
"It's an ongoing process," he said. "When residents are ready to take ownership of their neighborhood, we'll transition the leadership, but we're not walking away."
He said a key goal is to have residents form some kind of neighborhood group; possibly along the lines of a Blight Busters, or Keep Hayward Clean and Green neighborhood team, a disaster preparedness program, or crime prevention group.
Korth said the most important thing is to get neighbors together to talk about what they need to improve their quality of life and how it can be done.
"Maybe it's not a cleanup group," he said. "Maybe it's a group with a goal to organize a big Super Bowl party. That could work, too."
For more information, visit www.hayward-ca.gov and click on the Neighborhood Partnership Program icon. Neighborhood problems also can be reported using the Access Hayward link on the same website.