Joyce Charmatz, President of Keep Chicago Beautiful Inc., presented its Keep Chicago Beautiful 2011 Neighborhood Beautification Vision Award to the Central Austin Neighborhood Association on September 27, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. In the picture below Serethea and Ron Reid are flanked by the mascot “Les Waste” on the left and the President, Joyce Charmatz on the right.
The Central Austin Neighborhood Association seeks to develop projects that unite residents and transform Austin into a more vibrant and attractive place to live, work, play and raise children. In May of this year we began our corner beautification project.
Our goals were:
- Plant flowers on the intersections around a 16 square block area
- Encourage residents to participate in the initial planting and subsequent maintenance of the plantings
- Bring out the beauty in our neighborhood
- Increase the sense of community and ownership among residents
By the end of June, we had completed plantings on 19 corners. They were located at the following intersections:
- Washington Boulevard at Menard, Washington and Mayfield
- Menard Street at West End and Fulton
- Mason Street at Fulton
This project was funded by donations of cash, plantings and labor from many supportive stakeholders. They included:
- Third Unitarian Church members
- Multi-Unit building owners
- Local businesses
The project was quite labor intensive. In addition to residents, the Duke University Alumni Association started with us in May. The Safer Foundation provided on-going support over several months, helping to plant, weed and clean up around the corners
We heard many complimentary comments from residents including:
- I’ve changed the way I drive through the area so that I can view the flowers
- I smile every time I turn onto my street
- I hadn’t talked to my neighbor in years before this project
- We appreciate your effort
- How do I get on the list to have this done on my corner
We watched as people on foot and in cars stopped at the corners to take a longer look.
At the beginning of the project, some residents expressed concern that the work would be destroyed by vandals. We are pleased to report that not one of 19 corners planted was vandalized.
The beauty we created with neighbors and volunteers was recognized by Keep Chicago Beautiful. Keep Chicago Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the environment through education, public awareness and community involvement. The Central Austin Neighborhood Association received its 2011 Neighborhood Beautification Vision Award.
CANA hopes to expand beautification efforts next spring. We are encouraged and motivated by the outstanding response to our first effort.
Keep Chicago Beautiful presented the following additional awards for 2011:
Urban Agriculture Vision Award Growing Power’s Iron Street Urban Farm
Urban Forestry Vision Award Chicago State University
Neighborhood Greening Vision Award Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School
Media Vision Award Conscious Planet Media
Education Vision Award St Pascal School
Community Vision Award Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project
Sustainability Vision Award Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward
Corporate Vision Award Hines
Neighborhood Beautification Vision Award Central Austin Neighborhood Association