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If the 714 neighbors in southwest Orem join hands with the federal government - they have the money - and work hard - they have the solutions - their neighborhood could be spiffy and safer in no time.

Stacey Spencer, community development specialist for the city of Orem, said a total of $43,000 is available to help restore several areas earmarked as needing restoration.Starting with Geneva 1, the blocks between 400 and 800 North and 700 to 1200 West, the combined effort known as the "Building Neighborhoods Together" partnership will involve the people who know the situation best.

"We want the residents to play a key role in identifying the problems and in organizing the strategies to solve those problems," said Spencer. "We really want to be able to fill the residents' needs."

The first neighborhood meeting brought out 15 residents who will now go back and recruit block chairmen as well as more volunteer laborers, said Spencer.

Those residents said safety is their major concern as well as the "junk" in the area.

Spencer said they were surprised to find their neighborhood no longer ranked as the highest in reported crime.

Spencer said when a neighborhood is evaluated for problems and potential for upgrade, crime statistics are one measure of the area's well-being.

So is housing, the quality of infrastructure and zoning violations in the neighborhood.

Other neighborhoods in line for help include Hillcrest 1, between State Street and 800 East, 800 to 1300 South; Sharon 1, from 400 East to State Street and 400 to 800 North; and Cherryhill 2, between State and Main streets, 1300 to 1600 South. Spencer said the money available could go toward a variety of needs including lighting, education, landscaping or paint-ing.

She said Geneva 1 was designated as the first to receive help based on a 1993 survey of the city. Major efforts will begin "probably" in the spring of 1995 and be ongoing.

"We are the facilitator," said Spencer. "I'll take the information and have them come up with a vision or what they want the neighborhood to be like. We'll try to come up with some concrete strategies."

Over the next two years, efforts will stay focused on Geneva 1, she said. After that another in the four neighborhoods will become the central concern.

Individuals and/or groups who want to become involved in the program may call Spencer at 229-7099.