Camelot Neighborhood Association

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Camelot Neighborhood Association

History of the Camelot Neighborhood Association by Lowell Hyatt

CNA was formed in 1980 as the Camelot Homeowners' Association. At that time, the Safeway grocery store at the northeast corner of Arapaho and Jupiter was the only retail store at that intersection. There were no signal lights at the intersection, just four stop signs. Jupiter was a two-lane road, and Arapaho was two lanes from Plano Road to its termination point at Galaxie. There were no houses on the east side of what is now Callejo and was then Shiloh. All of the houses on the north side of Gallahad were Centennial model homes. The Association's name was changed to Camelot Neighborhood Association in April 1992, to encourage both homeowners and renters to join and become involved.

Sally Baskett and Elsie Mosqueda did the groundwork of forming the Association. They passed out flyers and held meetings in their homes. Each of them had been members of associations in the cities where they had lived before moving to the Camelot area. By their choice, neither of them ever held an official leadership position in the Association once it was formed. Carolanne and Ross Watson brought Neighborhood Watch to Camelot that first year, and they personally knocked on every door in Camelot to sign everyone up. 

The adoption of by-laws for the Association was an interesting event. The meeting at which they were adopted was held at what was then the Richland United Methodist Church (the church on Jupiter about a quarter of a block north of Collins). Approximately thirty individuals attended the meeting. It seemed as though every word was subjected to debate. I was amazed at the number of  'legal' experts within that group.

As I recall, the initial dues were $1 per month for each household that elected to become a member. Approximately ten years ago, after considerable discussion, the dues were raised to $1.25, and a few years ago to $1.75. To simplify administration, beginning in 2000, dues became a flat $21 per year or $10.50 if joining after July 1; in 2005, $25 and $12.50 respectively.

One of the first issues with which the Association was confronted was the lack of personnel to man the ambulance parked at the fire station that served and still serves this neighborhood (Station #6, located on Holford Road). The situation was discussed with City staff, and I believe that personnel was provided for the ambulance in the next budget year.

A later issue involved electric rates being paid by Camelot residents served by what was then Texas Utilities (TU Electric). At the conclusion of a presentation he was making concerning the reduction of electric bills, a TU representative pointed out that Camelot residents were paying Garland Power & Light (GP&L) rates, which were considerably higher than TU rates. It was learned that the paying of GP&L rates by Garland residents served by TU was the result of a state sanctioned agreement reached many years earlier between the City of Garland and TU. Getting state approval to permit those residents to pay TU rates turned out to be a many-month process. Then Garland Mayor Ruth Nicholson worked long and hard to bring about that approval.

An issue involving the safety of some children attending Big Springs Elementary School surfaced about fifteen years ago. At that time, the street in front of the school was a two-lane road. Students who lived east of the school and walked to school had to walk on the edge of the blacktop on which automobiles were driven. Within a short time after the situation was called to the attention of the City Council, sidewalks were placed on the north side of the road.

Another issue was a statement made to prospective home buyers by some of the Centennial Homes sales persons that what is now the lakes portion of Camelot would become a city park. That fact was brought to the attention of the President of Centennial Homes, Fred Roach. After considering various alternatives, he arranged for Centennial Homes to pay for installing the picnic tables and wooden play equipment which are still on the playgrounds of the Big Springs Elementary School.

Through the years, the Association has been involved in many other issues, including zoning cases, problems with streets and street lights, water being drained out of one of the lakes, and erosion.

The background of some of the current projects in which CNA is involved may be of interest to you. They are:

Annual Picnic - The Annual Picnic is a continuation of a tradition that commenced the year after CNA was formed. The by-laws of the Association require an annual meeting at which officers will be elected and changes to the by-laws can be made. Initially, those meetings were held on a Sunday afternoon at Big Springs Elementary School. For a few years, they were Saturday evening dinner events held at various restaurants. Since about 1990, they have been outdoor events. A chili cook-off became part of the picnic festivities in 2004. Attendance has grown from as few as two dozen to as many as 200.

Maintenance of King Arthur Median - The assumption of the responsibility for maintaining the King Arthur median was a reaction by Association leadership to an unanticipated event. Prior to the formation of the Association and for about five years after its formation, the median was maintained by Centennial. Early in the spring of the year that Centennial closed its model homes in Camelot (about 1985), it became very apparent that no one was maintaining the median. City staff confirmed that the median is City property, and the City is responsible for maintaining it. Staff also pointed out, however, that maintenance by the City would be limited to about a once-a-month mowing.

An agreement was reached with City staff that the Association would assume responsibility for maintaining the median, and the City would bear the cost of, as I recall, $300 of water. For a few years, only volunteer help was used to maintain the median. Since 1990, the Association has paid for mowing and other costs associated with maintaining the median although volunteers still maintain the flowerbeds and run the sprinklers. The Association also paid for the sod placed on the Collins median and for mowing it.

Yard of the Month - This program came into being about five years after the association started. I believe it was a replacement for the Garden Club. For purposes of the Yard of the Month program, Camelot is divided into five areas. During a six-month period each year (May-October), a yard within each area is designated as Yard of the Month. The Yard of the Year is recognized at each year's annual picnic. Etta Mauldin headed the program for many years. Joan Engle took over in 1998 and Maria Cudhea in 2000. Etta Mauldin was again Beautification Chair until her retirement in 2004. Robin White handled the duties in 2004, and Debbie Starling took over the reins in 2005. Reba Collins is the current Beautification Chair.

Monthly Newsletter - newsletter, not always monthly, has been issued throughout the entire existence of the Association. Initially it was hand delivered; however, for many years, it was mailed to CNA members. In August 2023, the newsletter went digital and is now sent to members via email in PDF format. Carolanne Watson was the creator of the newsletter and its editor for a number of years. She and Judy Rivera laid the groundwork for what the newsletter is today. Over the years, the newsletter was also produced by Ruth Bogard, Rick Sobol, Lois Hyatt, Sally Martin, Kathleen Warzyk, Pat Karacostas, Lynn Frank, Daryl Beckman and Bonnie Hunt. Judi Cheek and Cynthia Houck were Co-Editors of The Knightly News beginning in 1999. Cynthia Houck is the current Editor. 

Excalibur Award - The Excalibur Award is given to one person or group each year for exemplary civic duty and community involvement on behalf of the citizens of Garland and Camelot. Winners of this prestigious award have been:

        1981    Larry Rollins
        1982    Ross & Carolanne Watson
        1983    Lois & Lowell Hyatt
        1984    Cathy Mason
        1985    Judy Rivera
        1986    Kathy Robson
        1987    Donna Hunt
        1988    Rick Sobol
        1989    Rick Williams
        1990    Sam & Joan Engle
        1991    Etta Mauldin
        1992    Michael Holden
        1993    Richard Fricks
        1994    Michael Dumanov
        1995    Judi Cheek
        1996    Concordia Lutheran Church
        1997    Dennis Hubbell
        1998    Etta Mauldin
        1999    Garland Fire Department
        2000    Cynthia Houck
        2001    Joan Engle
        2002    Emma Rodgers
        2003    Rose Harris
        2004    Diane Tilley
        2005    Rick Williams & Scott Hisle
        2006    Scott LeMay
        2007    Kelli & Marc Albrecht
        2008    Frank Todd
        2009    James Ferrer
        2010    John Capers
        2011    Kelli & Marc Albrecht
        2012    Michelle Ferrer
        2013    Peggy Sorrentino
        2014    No award given
        2015    Arlene Novak
        2016    Lowell Hyatt
        2017    Bob Sorrentino & Dan Johnson
        2018    Reba Collins
        2019    Joe Thomas
        2020    Becky Thurmond 
        2021    Bill Corbin
        2022    Scott LeMay  
        2023    City of Garland Office of Neighborhood Vitality

I believe that CNA has the distinction of being the oldest voluntary neighborhood association in Garland. Since its inception, it has had a significant impact on the quality of life in this neighborhood in the form of crime prevention, appearance of the neighborhood, zoning, and many other issues.

The easiest part of CNA's existence was its formation. Since that time, it has experienced the ups and downs that can be expected of any volunteer group. The 'glue' that has enabled it to survive and be effective is the continued existence of a core group. Sometimes the number in that group has been limited to three or four individuals. The membership has changed throughout the years. What has not changed, though, is the dedication of the group.

Updated  11/17/23


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