Wednesday, June 08, 2005

NeighborWorks Day

Last Saturday, Neighborhood Housing Services held its annual NeighborWorks Day, where local residents pair up with NHS and our corporate partners (in this case, State Farm Insurance) to do a service project on a particular block. This year, we put in a garden on two vacant lots on the southwest corner of 48th and Bishop.

As it turns out, a local storeowner also runs a landscaping business, and he and his crew ramped up the project considerably. The basic plan was to put in planters in the shape of a tree, paint them and paint the posts in the back, and put down some mulch and gravel paths. Lime Green Landscaping (yep, that's a promo) added more plants, trees and even rolled sod! It looks great over there--a total transformation. If I can get some photos of before and after, I'll post them.

This park was an especailly significant project because a kid got killed over there two years ago at the end of a community cleanup event on the lots. Incredible that a kid could get shot over a bicycle at the tag end of an event that was supposed to help the community. So people were determined not to let the lots stay nasty and to do something to remember the young man, Rene Guillen.

We got a lot of media coverage: Channel 2, 7, Univision, the Tribune (although I don't know if they actually ran anything in the Trib based on a quick online clip search). The really good part is a fence will be put up around the park sometime in the next month. That corner had been a big gang hangout, so we hope all this new nice stuff will encourage other people to use the space and act as a deterrent to the rougher crowd. We'll see.

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