The point where the Murphy Bridal Path meets the Arizona Canal is a distinguishing feature of the area that the North Central Canal Association and Block Watch encompasses (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

There is a newly reorganized neighborhood association in the North Central corridor, and they are looking for neighbors to join their ranks.

The North Central Canal Neighborhood Association & Block Watch (NABW) covers the area of Northern to Dunlap, Central Avenue to 7th Street. While the organization is not entirely new — it was founded about a year and a half ago — it has recently undergone a change in leadership, adjusted its boundaries and has an updated mission. It’s goal? To build a resilient and inclusive community, promote neighborhood pride and unity, connect its many diverse neighborhoods with each other and to available resources, and to be that unified voice that can speak their concerns to city, county and state officials.

Led by Wallis Hardie, president, and neighbors Joyce Brown, Bruce Canon and Kate Brophy McGee, who are part of the leadership team, the organization is currently in the process of setting up a 501(c)3, identifying and prioritizing issues and closely collaborating with the leaders of other area organizations.

Hardie previously served the vice president of the East Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association and Block Watch, and when the founder of the Canal NABW announced she was moving out of state, Hardie stepped in. Her first order of business was to change the boundaries, which previously ran to 7th Avenue, but stopped at the canal.


The North Central Canal Association and Block Watch logo was designed Opal Hardie-Jorgenson, an incoming junior at Sunnyslope High School.

The change allowed for a smaller, more manageable, yet more diverse area, that included businesses, both big and small, multiple schools, houses of worship and both single-family and multifamily housing.

One of the top priorities for the group is to address the parking situation in the neighborhoods surrounding Sunnyslope High School. As the popular school continues to grow, overflow parking has become an issue.

Crime also is in the forefront of many neighbor’s minds.

“If people don’t feel safe in their homes, people don’t feel safe in their businesses… It’s not a real community, it’s not a real neighborhood,” McGee said, adding, “We are experiencing an increase in crime, and it works so much better to be ready, to be an organized voice with the city council and with our city council members, when our voice is needed.”

But as McGee points out, that also requires that those in the community get involved.

“[We] want people who are reading this to say, ‘I can do that. I can show up to a meeting, I can contribute, and then if I have a problem, then I know where to bring it.’”

The group began meeting four months ago on the third Thursdays of the month at Desert Mission Anglican Church, 234 E. Alice, but Hardie says that it will be on hiatus over the summer as it works to prioritize issues and grow the organization.

The North Central Canal Neighborhood Association & Block Watch will reconvene meetings in August. In the meantime, residents who would like information on how to get involved should send an email to


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