By Ari Beedie, Neighborhood Engagement Director
Friends of Belmont Beach won the grand prize at the 47th Annual Neighborhoods USA Conference in early May.
“It was time,” Tedd Hardy, President of Friends of Belmont Beach, said.
Friends of Belmont Beach, representing the Haughville neighborhood, won first place in the Neighborhood Physical Beautification category and won all three categories of the Neighborhood of the Year, making them the Grand Prize winner. This followed a Collaborative Spirit Award win at INRC’s Annual Meeting in late 2021.
“I think we formed a team this year that we just knew we would win,” he said.
Tedd said his community already had the key to success, they just needed guidance. Tedd was able to pull the Near Westside community together (along with the help from his team) around collaborating and connecting through different Belmont Beach community events.
“I’m just leading a team of great people,” he said. “Everyone on our team is holding their own. I’ve been able to be a part of and help build a super team. It’s a team effort.”
Tedd is a Haughville native who isn’t new to community work on the Near Westside. Tedd has been laying the groundwork in the local community for more than ten years.
“Growing up in Haughville, I’ve always been family oriented,” Tedd said.
Tedd played college basketball, which led him to have an overseas career in Mexico and London. His transition to playing in Mexico was the catalyst that brought community work into the forefront.
Tedd received a lot of cautious warnings from people he knew about playing in Mexico. Upon arrival, he saw similarities to his home neighborhood.
“They were family-oriented too. Bad things did happen, but I got to see the good sides,” Tedd said. “When I left, I was in the hood. When I got there, I saw a whole new light. When I got back to the hood, I realized this is paradise. This is Geist to me. In my head, I would compare it to a Geist because that’s where people take care of, have nice things, you can let your hair down and be safe.”
When he returned to Haughville, Tedd began to learn media and marketing to be able to better connect with community but also have control of his story narrative. Tedd was asked to hosting appearances – which is what led him to create his promotional company, Tedd Hardy Presents.
“I was on a ten-year run from there. I was giving back to the community. Every event that I had, I would reinvest the money back into the community,” he said.
Tedd started Sunday Fundays, a consistent, family-friendly event in Lentz Park. Called “Lynn Park” by Haughville residents, the events became a staple in the community that neighbors could depend on. The weekly events started in 2016, took a bit of a hiatus in 2020, but are back in effect this summer.
“We kept the park clean, we had activities. This was the Lynn Park Project. That was me seeing Haughville as the greatest place in America,” Tedd said. “People thought it was something that’s never been done before but everybody’s been to a family barbeque where you have a good time, play cards, have good conversation and even kids with bounce houses. I just put it in their faces every week.”
Tedd said he didn’t want to wait for tragedy to strike before bringing community together.
Belmont Beach was supposed to be a pop-up park May – October 2021. The park was initially meant to be temporary but after a season of successful events and immense community support, the park is here to stay.
“We exceeded expectations,” Tedd said. “Everything that Haughville had a title of getting, we didn’t. It was a safe space, no matter who was there. We beat the stereotype, basically.” “I’ve been listening to the elders. History is repeating itself.”
Be sure to check out Belmont Beach located at 1350 N White River Pkwy Drive this summer for the community events they have each weekend!