2011-11-04 / Government / Neighborhood

President of Melrose Heights Neighborhood Association strives for a safe involved community

By Josh Cruse

Fred Easley Fred Easley For Melrose Heights Neighborhood Association president Fred Easley, Melrose Heights isn’t just a place where he lives, it’s home. Born in 1960, Easley lived in Melrose for nearly ten years before his family moved.

When he returned in 1999, he was alarmed to find the Melrose Heights that he left wasn’t the place he was returning to. Melrose Park was in bad condition, and there was a tremendous amount of crime.

In 2000, Easley became involved with the neighborhood association and was elected president, a position he still holds. Eleven years later, crime is down, and Melrose Park has become the centerpiece of many of the activities that are held in the area.

One reason for the reduction of crime is the relationship the Melrose Heights community has with the Columbia Police Department.

“Ever since we had some issues in 2000, we have had several different police chiefs, and every single one of them has helped us. We have always had outstanding support from the police department, and we have been very fortunate,” said Easley.

Also residents have become more involved.

The Melrose Heights neighborhood holds numerous events every year. Whether it is the Fourth of July parade or the Halloween bash, it is all about getting the community together.

“The events we hold are intended to provide a sense of continuity,” Easley said.

“ There are so many things that everyone has been involved with, I can’t really take credit for it. It’s a matter of helping everyone find a voice and being the point person for it.”

Easley wants to continue to improve the areas he has always focused on, Melrose Park and creating a neighborhood environment that will leave an impact on the neighborhood’s youth.

Easley, a retired lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina Army National Guard, is the president of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Foundation, a member of the Columbia Development Corporation, and a small business owner.

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