On a sunny Saturday morning in May, Bedford-Stuyvesant residents from young children to venerable elders took part in the ultimate spring cleaning – FlowerBed Stuy. Organized by Bridge Street Development Corporation (BSDC) and the Youth Education and Safety Taskforce (YES Taskforce) over fifty block and tenant associations took part in this annual day of community pride and beautification.
Tiffany Lee, block association officer of 100 Jefferson Avenue Block Association, said, “I thought it was a great day. People came out; they supported and got involved and really took it to heart. It really showed how people are passionate about where they live and they care about it.”
Cloudy skies didn’t stop the legions of bright orange clad community residents from turning out to sweep, haul away dead bushes, and plant thousands of hardy plants made available to BSDC and the Youth, Education and Safety Taskforce through a grant from NYC Councilman Al Vann. Bright orange tee shirts echoed the mood of the day, as children, young families, and seniors all pitched in to beautify their blocks. Some groups served breakfast, and others had arts and crafts projects for the children.
Suretta Barnes, President of the Willard T. Price Tenant Association said, “FlowerBed Stuy was inspirational for the children and the development. Everyone worked hard … even the little ones. Our young folks really enjoyed it…some of them had never planted a flowers before.”
The event kicked off at 11 am on Macon Street between Lewis and Stuyvesant, with a show of community unity and organization hosted by the Macon Street (Lewis and Stuyvesant) Block Association. The event attracted community and borough leaders alike, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; 36th District City Council Member Al Vann, 56th District Leader Robert Cornegy, and the Chair of Community Board 3, Henry Butler.
Also in attendance were Bridge Street Development Corporation’s CEO, Rhonda A. Lewis; co-chairs of the Bedford Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force Brenda Fryson and Oma Holloway; Judges Robin Shears and Geraldine Pickett; CB3 Board Member Evelyn Collier; 81st Precinct Council President Catherine Airline; block association presidents Derek Cradle, Jeffery Scales, Altovise Fleary, and many others.
Sara Nichols, officer of the Van Buren Street Block Association said, “It was beautiful to see the children of the block admiring the beauty of what was done.”
FlowerBed Stuy is part of an initiative that is designed to create and support an alliance of block and tenant associations that will be more able to address crime and other quality of life issues, and develop more positive relations between the police and the community. The ultimate goal is to foster community pride while encouraging Central Brooklyn residents to play an active role in the strengthening of our community. FlowerBed Stuy was the culmination of training and support provided by BSDC and YES Taskforce on how to strengthen existing and establish new tenant and block associations.