The diverse neighborhoods of the City of Lancaster are unifying and organizing to improve the quality of life for their communities. They are forming committees, hosting block parties, cleaning up streets, planning public art initiatives, and communicating with neighbors to work together towards common goals. Each of these neighborhood groups have individuals who serve as connectors in their communities. Lancaster City Alliance is proud to shine a spotlight on them here.
Name: Nate Roach
Neighborhood Group: SoWe
Your work as one of the leaders in your Neighborhood Group is important because:
I’ve only lived in the Southwest for about 7 years now, so I still feel a bit like a
newcomer. What I’ve always been able to see though is that it’s a fantastic
community and a wonderful place to live. My wife and I chose to start and raise
our family here. I believe in the power of community, and as a member of the
SoWe board I place a high priority on finding ways to bring people together to
learn and live alongside one another.
Challenges that you are facing in your neighborhood right now:
With all the good publicity that Lancaster has received in the last few years, it’s
started to become a much more desirable place to live. That’s not necessarily a
bad thing, but as property values increase so does the cost of living. SoWe has not
been immune to that, so one of the biggest challenges has been to find ways to
ensure that our neighborhood remains a place where families from all economic
backgrounds can live. It’s a complicated problem, but I’ve been impressed by the
work SoWe and its partners have done so far, and am proud to be a part of that
What are some of the rewards from being a neighborhood connector in your
I’m still a fairly new member, but already I’ve met some really wonderful people.
I’ve found in the past that being part of a group of people all working towards a
common goal has the great side effect of building lasting relationships, and I
expect that working with SoWe will be no different.
Can you give a specific example of how your neighborhood has worked together?
Once, a few years ago back in 2016 I believe, we experienced a huge snow storm.
The snow came down so heavy and so fast that it made it so that the plows could not
get through many of the streets in our neighborhood. Our block on Saint Joseph was one of those blocks. After a day or two of not being able to go anywhere, a couple people came out of their houses and just started shoveling the street by hand. Before long the whole block was out helping, and in a matter of hours we had cleared the street and were able to get all of our cars out. I’ll never forget that. I’ve rarely seen a community come together and pull off what initially seemed like such an overwhelming task.
What is your secret to meeting new neighbors and welcoming them into the community?
I don’t think there is a secret, or if there is I haven’t learned it. The most important thing is to step outside of your comfort zone consistently and often, and to pay attention to what’s going on around you. I’m not any better at neighboring than anyone else honestly – my sometimes-introverted nature can make it difficult to be brave and put myself out there. I’m an observer and tend to try and soak information in, so being someone who can communicate what I’ve learned is one tactic I use to try and be a good neighbor.
Favorite way to spend a day with family, or friends in Lancaster City:
There’s so much to do in Lancaster, but finding good food and drink is by far one of my favorite things about living here. Whether it’s a date night with my wife or a night out with friends, there are so many fantastic options. I pride myself on being someone who can always tell you where to find a good beer.