Very simply, the theory says that, if a broken window in a vacant building is not repaired, it signals to everyone who passes by that no one cares about the building. More windows will get broken and the building may eventually be broken into and vandalized.
Or, if trash and debris accumulate on a sidewalk or vacant lot, it signals to everyone who passes by that no one cares about the area. More trash will accumulate and the area could become a dumping ground, an eyesore and a health hazard.
Any citizen that lives near "broken window" properties then suffers the negative effects of neglect and blight.
|Heartland Habitat for Humanity volunteers clean weeds and debris|
from the curb gutter in front of a new home
being built at Osage Avenue and South Valley Street.
(click any photo to see an enlarged version)
On June 14th, we began a summer long series of cleanup projects to demonstrate that we do give a darn about our neighborhoods in District 2 and that we are going to work hard to make them the absolute best they can be.
We picked three cleanup areas as "starters". Two were centered around elementary schools and the third was centered around the newly refurbished City View at St. Margaret's loft building. The areas are colored green in the map below. From top to bottom they were:
- McKinley School / Waterway Park (11th to 14th Streets and Grandview Blvd. to Armstrong Ave.)
- City View at St. Margaret's (Coy St. to Mill St. and Pacific Avenue to Gilmore Ave.)
- John Fiske School (12th to 14th and Kansas Ave. to Osage Ave.)
|Here's a map that shows the three cleanup areas in green.|
- Heartland Habitat for Humanity (Tom Lally, Joe Carignan, Brad Leech)
- Community Housing of Wyandotte County (Donny Smith, Brennan Crawford, Steve Curtis, Claudia Uribe)
- Central Avenue Betterment Association (Marty Thoennes)
- Downtown Shareholders (Ed Linnebur)
- St. Joe Watchdogs Neighborhood Group (Timothy Howe, Steve Kucharo)
- Cathedral Neighborhood Association (Patty Orth)
- Armourdale Renewal Association (Patty Dysart)
- USD 500 (Dr. Evelyn Hill)
- Community Policing (Sara Lopez, Ryan Parker and Jesus Casas)
- Unified Government (Kirk Suther, Tim Nick)
With well over 100 volunteers scattered across the three sites, we picked up trash, pulled weeds, cleared vacant lots and scooped up debris from curb gutters and storm drains.
We had distributed flyers about the cleanup to every house in the three areas, so we had lots of local residents pitching in to help. For many, all it took was for us to demonstrate that folks really care about the local community and they jumped in and sweated right along with us. One older gentlemen actually got a little teary-eyed as he watched volunteers clear a vacant lot and an overgrown sidewalk next door to his house.
All together, we filled two-and-a-half dumpsters with "stuff" that was junking up the neighborhoods.
Fox4 news even stopped by to help tell the story of our volunteers' efforts. Click here to see a video of their news story.
|Two of our youth volunteers made progress on a vacant lot.|
We were back in two of the cleanup areas again yesterday (Saturday, June 21).
Habitat had another great crew cleaning up around a house they are building at the intersection of South Valley St. and Osage Avenue (just two blocks from John Fiske School).
|A wonderful house is taking shape at South Valley and Osage.|
Thanks to Heartland Habitat for Humanity and Procter & Gamble!!
|Habitat for Humanity volunteers work some "curb magic"|
on a vacant lot near 14th & Osage.
|Habitat staff and volunteers pose for a group photo|
before they break for lunch after working
on the house at Osage Avenue and South Valley St.
Meanwhile, I headed back to the Waterway Park area where there are quite a few abandoned and vacant lots. We made good headway on clearing parts of those lots and we planned out our next effort at that location.
|Yes, the sidewalk that you see in the upper left of this photo|
DOES continue under all the leaves and weeds.
The mud and muck was 6" deep in some spots,
but we got the sidewalk cleared to the point
that you can actually walk on it!!
|We pulled weeds and scraped dirt and leaves from curb gutters.|
|Woohoo! Here's another curb that we "liberated" from grass and weeds.|
Looking good. :-)
Have a great week!
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