For a small neighborhood tucked away in a corner of Northeast Washington, Riggs Park has made a lot of noise over the years.

Thirty years ago, the residents were fighting proposals to run highways through the neighborhood and battling for a rapid rail system instead.

It took 30 years of persistent badgering of the District government to get a branch library located there.

When utility rates went up, residents again started agitating and pushed the idea of creating the D.C. Peoples Counsel to represent consumers in rate cases.

Lately, Riggs Park organizers have been formulating strategies to fight Metro's plans to dig trenches for the Green Line subway tracks. And this weekend, block leaders are holding a rally and march to protest the spread of drugs into the neighborhood.

"We try to keep the neighborhood as much as we can," said Everett W. Scott, past president of the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association. "You have to complain and raise hell, so to speak."

Scott is one of many residents who moved to Riggs Park in the 1950s and never left, although he and others had always thought their modest homes there would only be temporary.

Located near the Maryland line along Eastern Avenue, bordered by New Hampshire Avenue on the north, South Dakota Avenue on the west and roughly by Webster Street on the south, Riggs Park once was predominantly white and Jewish.

Scott and others were the beneficiaries of block-busting in the area by real estate agents looking for quick sales after the Korean War. In many cases, it was the first chance the new black residents had to buy their own homes. Once there, they found Riggs Park too convenient and too affordable to leave.

"If you want to take in a show downtown, you're not that far away. If you want to go out to Maryland, it's not far away either," said Delores Hawkins, a retired equal employment opportunity specialist for the Veterans Administration who has lived in Riggs Park for 29 years with her husband John, now retired from the Government Printing Office.

"And yet when you come home," Hawkins said, "there are lights. I don't want to be way out in the country where it's dark driving down roads to your house. I was born and reared in the country and I guess that was enough for me."

There is a sense of Big Sky in Riggs Park, an area of about 50 square blocks.

There are no tall buildings, just rows of salt-box, semidetached town houses on gently curving terrain. It's a place for working class people who raise families, where block organizations still get together once a month, where prizes are awarded for the best flower gardens and where neighbors comb their yards and basements for the annual cleanup campaign.

"At the time I bought here, I was looking for something a little more upscale," said Catherine D. Costellano, a retired secretary for the U.S. Postal Service and advisory neighborhood commissioner for District 4B-11.

"This {house} was clean and in good condition. I thought I would stay here a couple of years," Costellano said. "But it didn't work out that way. Even though we thought about moving to the suburbs, realizing the inconvenience of the traffic and everything, we kept putting it off and putting it off. Then prices in the suburbs went up. And as we get older, we didn't need that much space any more."

This year, according to Rufus Lusk & Son Inc., the real estate information service, home prices in Riggs Park averaged between $83,000 and $93,000. Residents said they are pleased with their investment because the houses -- some decorated with striped awnings or exaggerated, 50's-style eaves -- have held up well.

"We've been happy with what we've had. We have other things we want to do besides make mortgage payments," Hawkins said.

"They just don't build homes anymore like they built these," she said. "We had our kitchen remodeled and the guy who put the fan in over the stove said he had to drill practically all day to get through the wall to the outside. My daughter's house {in another area of the city} is only 10 years old, and already she says the kitchen floor is falling in."

Residents rate the area schools -- LaSalle Elementary and Backus Junior High -- as among the better ones in the city. There is a Giant food store and other shopping close by.

Still, there's a feeling of having to fight for services in Riggs Park.

"We pay taxes. We're entitled to things like everyone else," said Scott, after describing the neighborhood's battle for a library.

Neighbors are upset that Metro wants to dig trenches for the Green Line tracks, rather than tunneling. Recently residents held a fund-raiser for a possible legal challenge to the subway construction and laid out a buffet dinner of fried chicken, ham, baked fish and macaroni and hired a jazz band for dancing.

There also has been mounting concern about drugs. Drug trafficking is nowhere near as bad as in some neighborhoods in the city, residents said. But they don't want any, and fear the drug sales they see occasionally on neighborhood playgrounds or near some homes are just the beginning.

"It's hard to make the police department realize they {drug dealers} are here," Costellano said. "We've tried very hard keeping it out of here. Crime over here is not supposed to be a problem."

But Hawkins said it would take more than a few drug dealers to get her to leave Riggs Park.

"We plan to be here," she said, "period."