Flower Bed-Stuy Day and the Community Preservers and Builders That Made it Happen

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Working for the Community: Block and Tenant Association presidents, Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force members, Bridge Street Development staff, and community leaders were among those who came out to beautify their blocks. Photo: Jacques Cornell

Saturday, May 14th marked the first annual Flower Bed-Stuy Day in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Neighbors from over fifty block and tenant associations turned out to sweep, haul away dead bushes, and plant thousands of hardy plants that were donated by Bridge Street Development Corporation and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force.  Bright orange  T-shirts echoed the mood of the day as children, young families and seniors all pitched in to beautify their blocks. Some groups served breakfast, while others  had arts and crafts projects for the children.

The event was kicked off on Macon Street, where a press conference was hosted by the Macon Street (Lewis and Stuyvesant) Block Association. In attendance were Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; 36th District Council  member Al Vann, and 56th District leader Robert Cornegy. Also in attendance were Bridge Street Development Corporation CEO Rhonda A. Lewis; Brenda Fryson and Oma Holloway, Co-Chairs of the  Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force ; Judges Robin Shears and Geraldine Pickett;  Henry Butler, Chair of Community Board 3;  CB3 Board member Evelyn Collier;  81st Precinct Council President  Catherine Airline;  Block Association Presidents Derek Cradle, Jeffery Scales, Altovise Fleary and many others.

Suretta Barnes, President of the Willard T. Price Tenant Association said, “Flower Bed-Stuy was inspirational for the children and the development. Everyone worked hard … even the little ones.  Some of the children never planted flowers before they really enjoyed it”.

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.”
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 and care about where they live.”
Brenda Fryson said Flower Bed-Stuy is a demonstration of how grassroots organizations can come together to keep Bedford-Stuyvesant  the beautiful community that so many of our early block and tenant associations worked so hard to develop.  The thousands of flowers that were planted today represent the new vines from our very strong roots.  With Bridge Street and Community Board 3 as our partners, the  YES  Task Force  is well on the road to reaching the goal of reviving the alliance of block and tenant associations which was the key to the revitalization of our community so many decades ago.

Bridge Street Development Corporation’s C.E.O, Rhonda A. Lewis, said, “It is very important for community-based organizations and community leaders to partner in a meaningful way to improve neighborhood conditions when necessary and preserve institutions such as the neighborhood block and tenant associations. Flower Bed-Stuy 2011 is an example of this partnership. Block and tenant associations are the back bone of this community. With the support of  organizations such as Bridge Street Development Corp. and Bedford YES Taskforce, these associations will continue to have a positive impact on the Bedford-Stuyvesant community.”
Flower Bed-Stuy is part of a multi year 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 also develop more positive relations between the police and the community.  The entire community organizing initiative, with the YES Task Force, Bridge Street Development Corporation and Community Board 3 as the sponsors, is supported by a grant from Council member Albert Vann and the New York City Council.
Bridge Street Development Corp. and Bedford-Stuyvesant YES Task Force looks forward to expanding partnerships and community involvement for future events.  If you are interested in partnering please contact Bridge Street Development Corp. at 718-636-7596 Ext. 14.

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