As Union Square is getting ready for this weekend’s 26th Annual Christmas Cookie Tour, we wanted to share a few reflections from Andrea Leahy on a productive and successful year for the Union Square Streetscape Committee. Led by Andrea and neighbor Sal Seeley this group has organized scores of volunteers to clean the streets and have fun celebrating a greener neighborhood through their Bloom Your Block Competition. Read on for a bit of inspiration on how cleaning streets can build community in West Baltimore–
A few neighbors that were tired of seeing litter on the streets got together to form the Streetscape Committee with the idea to encourage everyone to pick up litter on the streets as they saw it. The monthly clean ups are a way to get neighbors together and lead by example. We decided to clean one street a month within Union Square’s boundaries. So far we have cleaned every street in Union Square at least once. We have had our core group of people almost every month of about 10 or 12. We also work with the recovery home on Fulton Avenue. The guys come out and help clean with us. They were a great help this year!
The biggest clean up this year consisted of 25-30 people but even if only 3 or 4 show up we still continue. Consistency and effort are our message. We know that we can’t make all the trash go away but we can set higher standards for our neighborhood and encourage personal responsibility. We supply gloves, bags, tools and refreshments with the help of Union Square Association and personal donations.
We have also added more large flower pots on the corners and the lamppost banners this year to make Union Square look more cohesive as a neighborhood. Bloom Your Block was our biggest most successful project in making the streets look beautiful and building community participation and pride.
Come out and volunteers with the Streetscape Committee for their last clean-up of the year this Saturday at 12:00 pm to clean the park and put up holiday decorations. Contact Andrea at 571-264-3885 with any questions!