I tend to beat up on Grant Street when it comes to litter. For years, I’ve harped about the street being a mess, despite numerous attempts to keep it clean. Many of my ‘This Week In Litter‘ posts have been spurred on by the litter and trash problems facing Grant Street and intersecting West Ferry.
To my unexpected surprise, three community activists have taken to the streets – Grant Street, that is – to tackle the issue of blight. These community volunteers – Bill Lindner, Marcia Panzarella, and Sharon Danna – have outdone themselves with their beautification initiatives that include cleaning up and planting numerous flower beds.
Formerly dingy flower and tree pits filled with debris, these forlorn and forgotten beds are now brimming with life thanks to a selfless herculean effort that saw the planting and ongoing maintenance of 32 flower gardens and ornamental grass parcels along Grant Street.
“A couple of friends and I decided that we wanted to beautifying the 32 parcels of land on Grant Street that consisted of broken planters and massive weeds,” said Sharon Danna. “So we received donated dirt and split flowers from my personal flower bed. Thus began our passion to beautify Grant Street. We water and weed 7 days a week for a couple of hours a day and this year Henry Jackson (Department of Public Works) committed one of his employees named ‘Poppy’ to hand sweep from W Ferry to Auburn 5 days a week.”
Once again, it just goes to show that, more often than not, persistence pays off. When caring community members come together to chip in on cleanup and beautification efforts, the City is usually receptive to contributing towards the efforts. What is especially poignant about this latest effort is the magnitude of the project.
“No other street in Buffalo has this many flower beds on it,” said Danna. “They are perennials, so they bloom at different times – right now the ornamental grasses are in full bloom.”
If you’re wondering why three people would contribute their time and effort to such an undertaking, it’s actually quite simple.
“Because we saw litter and weeds and knew we could change the streetscape with flowers from my gardens at home,” said Danna.
Now if that isn’t the best response to addressing a problematic issue, I don’t know what is. All I can say is… thank you, from everyone who cares about a cleaner Buffalo. Perception is key. If you want more shoppers and business owners on the street, one of the most basic ways to do that is show that people care. Keeping a clean street is one thing. Planting flowers is another.
Ongoing maintenance is the icing on the cake, but how long can we expect that to last?
The City needs to come up with a plan to address the cleanliness of all of its commercial corridors. In the meantime, we can only hope and pray that caring community members come to the rescue, as we are now witnessing with this incredible display of dutiful dedication on Grant Street.