Notice more flowers and fresh coats of paint in the neighborhood lately?
The annual get together to clean up the neighborhood from Newkirk Avenue to Prospect Park earlier this month was deemed a major success, with volunteers of all ages repainting nearly 60 mailboxes and fire call boxes, and planting more than 300 annuals and perennials from Newkirk Plaza to Cortelyou Road.
The event, which started a decade ago by neighbors painting over gang signs, today gathers resources from volunteer groups, the Flatbush Development Corporation, The Church Avenue Business Improvement District and local City Councilmembers to clean up the streets of Ditmas Park.
“I love that people thank our volunteers and others who pass by and sign up on the spot. It shows the true spirit of the Flatbush community,” said Robin Redmond of the FDC.
People stopping by to appreciate the volunteer work was a theme for the day. In the past, passersby have stopped to say cleaning graffiti was a waste of time. They said it would be back the next day. But persistence has paid off.
Three years ago, the 70th Precinct Explorers painted the 99 cent store on Church Avenue and it has not been touched since. The BID team actually meets at the corner of East 17th and Church Avenue because the Health Food Store wall was the worst painted in the area each year. This year there was nothing to do there.
But when the teams walked down Church Avenue, they found plenty to do.
“This year’s ‘A Clean Church Ave. Day’ had a larger than usual group of teen volunteers and we focused on painting over graffiti on security gates and other street fixtures, cleaning an impressive 29 sites,” said Lauren Collins of the Church Avenue BID.
“The volunteers worked very hard and were repeatedly stopped by passersby and shoppers who offered their encouragement.”
The event was supported by City Councilmembers and ConEd, and organizers gave additional thanks to Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte for spending time with volunteers at the annual post-clean-up BBQ.
The Assemblymember was moved by the spirit of the event. “I was honored to be there,” said Bichotte. “It was really great to see how everyone pitched in together and I particularly enjoyed the show at the BBQ afterward.”
Much thanks to the 70th precinct NCOs for keeping an eye on everyone, to the Church Ave B.I.D. and FDC for distribution and organization, and to the various volunteer groups who showed up.
Check out more photos from the day below, by Nathan Thompson: