BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Community members and leaders are working to beautify Baltimore this summer.
Dozens of volunteers spent Saturday pulling weeds, picking up trash, and planting shrubs in Baltimore’s Upton community on the grounds of the former PS 103
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This is where Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the US Supreme Court, attended elementary school from 1914 to 1920.
“It’s a historic landmark,” said Mary Urban, the WIN Waste Innovations Director of Communications, Community Engagement and Marketing.
“They’re going to start doing renovations on this building so we want to make sure the rest of the block is going to be as beautiful as this building is going to be,” Alex Smith, the owner of Division Street Landscaping, said.
It’s all part of a citywide enhancement initiative led by WIN Waste Innovations.
The 16-week series is called “Growing Greenspace.” Every Saturday, people of all ages and backgrounds come together to promote beautification efforts throughout the city.
“We’ve chosen lots that our communities have tried to maintain but are having a hard time and we’re coming through and were doing the debris and the hauling and the litter cleanup,” Urban said. “And then we’re going to plant urban gardens, raise beds, pollinator gardens, native shrubs.”
The company is investing $100,000 in the program to contract local haulers and landscapers to join community partners to identify properties across Baltimore that can be improved to expand accessibility to neighborhood greenspaces.
“I used to live on the same block that Thurgood Marshall lived on the 16-hundred block,” Smith said. “It means a lot to be able to do this work in your community.”
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Owner of Division Street Landscaping, Alex Smith, says these revamping efforts go far beyond just the surface level.
“When you have a beautiful neighborhood, you take more pride in your neighborhood, which brings down crime and all that kind of stuff,” said Smith.
That is why the future generation is also involved in the project.
“It makes me feel good because I get to give back to my community,” volunteer Jy’shon Stevenson said.
“When they see trash, their minds think trash. When they see clean, their mind thinks clean, so we’re here to keep it clean,” Terry Williams, the CEO of Challenge2Change, said.
Organizers say it’s truly a win-win situation overall.
“Not only is it beautifying spaces and creating a little bit of an oasis for people in some underserved communities but also good for the planet,” Urban said.
The Growing Greenspace series will be going on through September 24.
Anyone is welcome to volunteer at the event.
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WIN Waste Innovations will host the next several Growing Greenspace projects on the following dates and at the following locations across Baltimore:
- July 2: 2713 W. Lafayette St.
- July 9: 1700 E. Lanvale St.
- July 16: 2000 N. Washington St.
- July 23: 1700 E. North Ave.