“Clinton is a mostly undiscovered, rapidly-changing neighborhood to the southeast of Lake Merritt not far from Jack London Square. In Clinton, diversity is the name of the game: there are Victorian mansions next to bungalows, Julia Morgan Craftsmans, and homes built in every decade. The makeup of residents is just as varied…
Within a month of moving in, we had plugged into several neighborhood groups, some made up of people who had worked hard for decades to preserve and improve the neighborhood, and some who were more recent additions to the neighborhood, working hard to build a community and make positive changes.
Energized by these meetings, my partner and I started a nonprofit, Oakland’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Beautification Project, to raise funds to beautify the sidewalk landscape strips and public medians as a means to fight illegal dumping, graffiti and crime in the area. The funds raised go to neighbors who need financial assistance in planting their sidewalks, and who want to be part of the project.
With the help of many neighbors, we have installed a library box in a public space and filled it with books of all languages for the neighborhood children to read. We landscaped three city medians, a private sidewalk where prostitution was occurring, and several other homes. The graffiti and illegal dumping stopped in the areas where we did our beautification, and now there is a much more steady flow of people taking leisurely walks, going for runs and bike rides, as the spaces feel more safe.
We also hope to plant fruit trees and a garden along with some neighbors at an apartment building near the library box we installed. The tenants used to look at us with suspicion when we walked by with our dogs. Now their kids play in the streets and they say hello and talk with us. It is so valuable to feel at home out on the streets.”
read more: oaklandlocal, 25.01.14.