Sprucing up around the block

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2011

More than 80 volunteers edged curbs, laid brick walkways, installed picket fences and painted buildings along the 200 and 300 blocks of South Shaver Street in the Brooklyn-South Square neighborhood on Oct. 22.
The event, dubbed BlockWork, was initiated by the Community Appearance Commission’s Neighborhood Leaders Alliance to bring community supporters together to promote cleaner and safer neighborhoods one block at a time.
Dressed in gold BlockWork T-shirts, volunteers scurried about the two-block area armed with shovels, rakes, paint brushes or wheel barrows full of mulch. They included local residents, church members, Early College Junior Civitans, Livingstone College track and football team members, folks from nearby neighborhoods, and Salisbury’s mayor and mayor pro-tem.
The inspiration for BlockWork — which took place on the national Make a Difference Day — evolved last year as neighborhood leaders searched for a tool that could serve as both an immediate clean-up effort and a grassroots approach to fostering accountability for long-term neighborhood stewardship. The Neighborhood Leaders Alliance invited neighborhoods to submit applications for a block of their choice to compete for the intensive work day with volunteers, similar to the United Way’s Day of Caring. After reviewing applications, the selection committee chose the 300 block of South Shaver Street for demonstrated need, potential impact and project feasibility. The 200 block was added at the request of the Brooklyn-South Square neighborhood leaders.
The Neighborhood Leaders Alliance plans to hold a second BlockWork event in 2012.