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An innovative new networking site is connecting Waynedale neighbors – both virtually, and in reality.
Available online, Nextdoor Waynedale is helping neighbors be the eyes and ears for each other when it comes to things as varied as unexplained neighborhood noises, crime watch activities, local garage sales, local services – like lawn mowing – and even lost pets.

Residents can join the site either through the website, at www.nextdoor.com, or download the Next Door App from the Apple App Store or from Google Play.

Once inside the Internet portal, users are greeted by a host of posts from their neighbors. The site even allows you to see other members of the virtual neighborhood, and where they live. Members can even send actual post cards to their linked neighbors, if they like.

Mike Quillen, a member since about 2013, said neighbors tend to share a little more on the site, since it’s not as public as more populated sites, like Twitter or Facebook.

“People feel a little more safe on this site,” said Quillen, an avowed technology hobbyist who works at BF Goodrich. “Mostly, because it’s not as widely-broadcast as Facebook.”

The Next Door company was founded in 2010, with its headquarters in San Francisco, California.

The site was created – according to company literature – “because we believe that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life.” The company goes on to say, “We hope that neighbors everywhere will use the Nextdoor platform to build stronger and safer neighborhoods around the world.”

One example of a recent post on the Waynedale site reads: “We have a cat that has been hanging outside of our house. It’s black and white and has a bell on its collar.” The short message was accompanied by cell-phone photos of the kitty milling around outside.

Quillen, who lives in the Avalon Place addition near Dunkelberg Road, said he began frequenting the site about four years ago because his 12-hour workdays didn’t allow him much free time to attend neighborhood association meetings in person.

Since joining, Quillen said, the number of members has grown by leaps and bounds. His addition now has more than 100 members, he said. Other Waynedale neighborhoods have seen similar growth. There are 59 members in Mariners Ridge; 64 in Hessen Castle; and Avalon Place counts about 130 neighbors in its ranks, according to Quillen.

He said a recent crime-watch post caught his attention, and even led him to confronting some home invaders. A site missive asked about a home that was empty because the owners were away on vacation, and someone had seen unknown teens milling around the house’s garage.

Quillen went over to the home, and chased the youths from the unoccupied dwelling before they were able to get in the home. He didn’t call the police, but mostly just scared the boys away, he said.

And the site is continuing to expand its horizons. In the near future it plans to add a business section that will allow local folks to chat about and recommend local businesses, like grocery stores, restaurants, and Waynedale shops.

For now, though, neighbors are just happy it’s there for staying in touch with each other.

“It’s just a good way to get involved with your neighborhood and stay connected,” Quillen said. “That’s what I like most about it.”

Michael Morrissey

Michael Morrissey

Michael is a professional writer and journalist. He attended South Side High School and Northwestern University. He has written for newspapers in Michigan City, Indiana; Pekin, Illinois; and Bradenton, Florida. He also has written for and edited websites in Florida and San Francisco, California. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer