Healthy Neighborhoods

It has been an active and fun time in the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods! This last August, four street murals were created through collaborations between local artist Marina Lee of Beginning Dreams Forever and residents of Harambee and Riverwest. Two design sessions were held on the Beerline Trail that connects these neighborhoods, with neighbors coming together to design, talk and share some food.

Sometimes it seemed like there wasn’t enough paper once the mural design ideas began to flow! At other points, conversations revealed how violence and loss have sometimes threatened our sense of progress as a community. However, neighbors agreed that by pulling together our strength and resilience would not be undermined. The symbols and themes woven into these murals reflect the personal and collective aspirations that were shared during these powerful design sessions. Be sure to take a second to view them at the following intersections: Concordia Ave & Richards St; Concordia Ave & Booth St; Fratney St and Auer Ave; and Buffum St & Towsend St.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their nominations for this year’s Beautiful Garden Space Contest! We had over 25 nominations and, even though it is late in the growing season, it was easy to see how these spaces inspired neighbors with their beauty this summer. Our winner, Willis Itson, a resident of Harambee, is a great-grandpa who still finds the energy to ride his bike on the Beerline Trail after an active day of gardening. Our other winners include Jewell Portwood of Harambee, and Jude Milos and Carmen Lopez of Riverwest. Every garden that was nominated was an absolute pleasure to see and every gardener that I got to meet was a pure delight.

Our ability to grow together as a community is expressed any time we are able to get together and meet one more neighbor, share one more story. These connections between neighbors are at the heart of the values that drive Healthy Neighborhoods, where we demonstrate how our pride in the physical conditions of our neighborhood helps to promote a positive image, which in turn helps to build confidence in our real estate market. Tending to our gardens and designing street murals are essential elements of this process, even if they seem to be small things. Let’s keep pulling together!