Neighborhoods across the country are celebrating Earth Week this week, but two local community organizations are hoping to spur on efforts that benefit the environment year-round.
The first annual Flower Bed-Stuy Day will be held on May 14th, and is aiming to bring the community together through a series of beautification projects.
“We’re trying to help unite our neighborhood,” said Rhonda Lewis, CEO of Bridge Street Development Corporation. “This is a great way for people to invest in the community and develop a sense of pride for it, and hopefully become a springboard to address bigger issues like crime and safety.”
Working alongside the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force (YES), Lewis says that nearly 40 community block and tenant associations have signed on to participate in Flower Bed-Stuy Day, and that the possibility of an even broader impact is likely.
“The number of blocks that will make efforts to beautify their area could even be double the number of block associations who are already participating,” said Lewis. “People will hopefully see that having these plants improves the quality of the block and spur other residents on.”
Brenda Fryson, co-chair of YES, says they received a grant to buy flowers through Council Member Al Vann, and purchased them through GrowNYC. In addition, Bed-Stuy Flower Day has also received support from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, as well as Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Each block association will receive two flats of plants, or 80 in total, which local homeowners will plant themselves. The pick-up for the plants will be this Saturday at 10:00 a.m., at 625 Quincy Street.
“We made sure to pick flowers that are pretty easy to maintain,” said Fryson. “They should be fully blossomed by late May to early June.”
Flower Bed-Stuy Day is being held in conjunction with other beautification projects throughout the neighborhood, including a “Greenest Block” contest that will be held in early June. The winning block will receive a plaque and recognition from Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Lewis says that while she is hoping to spur on further beautification efforts, there has been a major improvement in this area throughout Bed-Stuy in the last several years.
“As the prices in the housing market have increased throughout Bed-Stuy, people have definitely been making more of an effort to make their individual residences look nice, especially in the areas where brownstones are now going towards the $1 million mark,” said Lewis, citing McDonough St. between Lewis Ave. and Stuyvesant St. as a specific example.”
Fryson says she hopes the event is a way to unite new residents with long-standing members of the neighborhood.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for neighbors to come together besides the block parties that will take place this summer,” said Fryson. “It’s a great chance for everyone to come out and do something fun that will benefit our immediate environment.”