Change You Can See: Looking Back at 2011

It’s Memorial Day and we’re taking a look back. 2011 was our biggest year yet! Here’s an overview of achievements and projects that took place in the year 2-0-1-1!

W Rockland Street

1. A very exciting block-wide beautification project dubbed Grow this Block! over Memorial Day Weekend – a day on which over 30 households on W Rockland Street planted flowers, vegetables, fruit and herbs in their front yards.

Grow This Block! May 28, 2011

2. Assistance with do-it-yourself property improvements; secured outdoor paint and supplies for residents who wished to paint their front porches, railings and fences (over 10 households refreshed)

3. The tear-down of two blighted houses that plagued the community for over 20 years, which we advocated for on behalf of the community; we’re still in the process of planning a community garden for the neighborhood in what is now huge plot of vacant land

Demolition. Day 1. Friday, June 2, 2011.

4. An information filled community meeting attended by over 75 neighbors from both W Rockland Street and surrounding blocks with guest speakers from Philly311, Streets Department of Philadelphia, SWEEP, Philadelphia Police Department, and RecycleNOW

Germantown Community Meeting on March 21, 2011, Philly311 Director Rosetta Lou speaking

5. The ongoing transformation of six vacant lots, plagued by illegal dumping, into clean and green space while implementing feasible maintenance plans as we continue to work on more permanent solutions for the vacant land

An early Philly Spring Cleanup project before the abandoned buildings were torn down

6. Regular block meetings for W Rockland Street residents (well-attended)

7. Activities for children including Play Street in the summer months, and nature projects

Yasmine harvesting crops planted during Grow This Block!

8. Rockland Street Cat Health Day, an ongoing opportunity for residents to get low cost spay/neuter services (got to love the kitties) which has resulted in the reduction of stray animals in the neighborhood

9. Regular collaboration with organizations and institutions in the city including Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, DePaul Catholic School, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Streets Department of Philadelphia, Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, and others

Some of our volunteers for the day with 8th District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass (in the orange scarf)

10. Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter visits W Rockland Street, after reading about Grow This Block! in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Councilwoman Cindy Bass stops by many times throughout the year to show support for special projects.

Me and Mike, Mayor Nutter greets W Rockland Street kids in 2011

11. An inspiring and very well attended block party of all block parties that featured games for kids, a dunk tank, original performances and spirited acknowledgments of long-time community residents

Ainé in the dunk tank at the block party in July 2011

12. In October 2011, W Rockland Street even won a Neighborhood Transformation Award for Beautification Projects, presented by the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, an arm of the Streets Department of Philadelphia

Marianna, Junior Block Captain, with the Neighborhood Transformation Award

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