I tend to fight on Grant Street when it comes to trash. For years I have said the street is messy, despite many attempts to keep it clean. Many of my “This Week In Litter” posts have been spurred on by the trash and waste issues that Grant Street and West Ferry intersect.
To my unexpected surprise, three community activists took to the streets – Grant Street, that is – to tackle the problem of the scourge. These community volunteers – Bill Lindner, Marcia Panzarella and Sharon Danna – have gone above and beyond with their beautification initiatives which include cleaning and planting numerous flower beds.
Once pits of flowers and drab trees filled with debris, these abandoned and forgotten flowerbeds are now teeming with life thanks to a selfless Herculean effort that has seen the planting and ongoing maintenance of 32 flower gardens and patches of grass. ornamental along Grant Street.
“A couple of friends and I decided we wanted to beautify the 32 plots of land on Grant Street that consisted of broken planters and massive weeds,” said Sharon Danna. “So we received soil and split flowers from my personal flower bed. So began our passion for beautifying Grant Street. We water and weed 7 days a week for a few hours a day and this year Henry Jackson (Public Works Department) hired one of his employees named “Poppy” to hand sweep W Ferry in Auburn 5 days a week. “
Again, this shows that more often than not persistence pays off. When caring community members come together to participate in the clean-up and beautification efforts, the City is generally willing to help. What is particularly poignant about this latest effort is the scale of the project.
“No other street in Buffalo has so many flower beds,” Danna said. “They’re perennials, so they flower at different times – right now ornamental grasses are in full bloom. “
If you are wondering why three people would devote their time and effort to such a business, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
“Because we saw litter and weeds and knew we could change the streetscape with flowers from my gardens at home,” Danna said.
Now, if that isn’t the best answer to solving a problem, I don’t know what it is. All I can say is … thank you, from anyone who cares about a cleaner Buffalo. Perception is the key. If you want more buyers and business owners on the streets, one of the easiest ways to do this is to show people that you 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 it to last?
The City must develop a plan to keep all of its trade corridors clean. In the meantime, we can only hope and pray for caring community members to come to the rescue, as we are now seeing with this incredible show of dedication on Grant Street.