By Katie Nielsen

LIVERMORE (CBS SF) — A group of neighbors in one East Bay community say they barely knew each other before the COVID outbreak, but now their Livermore Street has been transformed into a twinkling display of unity.

“We kind of jokingly called it the Arch Brigade. The Mohawk Arch Brigade,” says Nicole Garrett as she laughs.

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She’s talking about all the arches covered in lights above the driveways of most homes on Mohawk Drive.

“Just watching through videos and getting ideas online, just kind of came up with the plan and then texted a few of my neighbors to see if they wanted to join in and one arch led to 5, then 5 led to 10, then we have 18 arches on the block now,” says Nicole’s husband, Keith Garrett.

The arches are 10 foot sections of PVC pipe with holiday light strands painstakingly wrapped hundreds of times around them. Keith talks about how he made 7 arches for neighbors, many of whom are gathered in their driveway on Thursday night.

“If people saw us out now, they would assume or maybe guess that we’ve known each other for years. We didn’t know people on a first name basis at all,” says Nicole.

“Two years ago, we were just waving neighbors if that,” Keith added.

Robert Palmer, who lives just 3 houses down from Nicole and Keith, moved in at the height of the pandemic and its socia distancing restrictions.

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“Everyone was kind of on lockdown,” he said. “Then to come to this block, to come to Mohawk, everyone’s out here at least once a week, and we thought oh it’s so nice, they’re kind of bringing us into the pack. I found out today that they had only started this that 4th of July, two days after we moved in.”

“It literally just started with, ‘Hey what’s your name? Want to come over next Friday? We’re going to get more pizza!’ and it just kind of evolved from there and before we knew it, there was a huge crowd on our driveway every Friday,” explains Nicole.

Two women in the driveway Thursday night are Pat Acamo and Rosemary Bronzan. Both women moved into homes on the street in 1966, just a few years after the subdivision was built.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s kind of like the older generation and the younger generation,” says Pat.

“Now it’s kind of like it was back in the beginning with a lot of young children all playing together,” says Rosemary.

“These are great new friends. I just ran a half marathon with one neighbor. My husband just took a trip to see a NASCAR race with another neighbor. We really have built an amazing community,” says Nicole.

All the neighbors on Mohawk Drive say they’re getting ready for a holiday pot-luck on Saturday and have a Secret Santa gift exchange planned for the more than 20 kids that live on their street.

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They welcome anyone to drive by and enjoy all their decorations and lights. The arches are on Mohawk Drive between Iroquois Avenue and Algonquin Avenue.