MLK service project on Burton Street: Monday, Jan. 17
The Burton Street service project on Monday, Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, will focus on cleaning vacant lots for future community gardens.
Press release from Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy:
AmeriCorps Project Conserve and Vista Volunteers work to renew Burton Street Community in honor of MLK Day
As part of the ongoing effort to revitalize the Burton Street Community, AmeriCorps Project Conserve and VISTA volunteers will work alongside community members on January 17th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to clean vacant lots for future community gardens and clear trash from the banks of Smith Mill creek. The Asheville Design Center (ADC) and the Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA) have been working with the Burton Street Community to help revitalize the neighborhood as part of their Blue Ridge Blueprints Project. The project helps communities design their future by providing community members with an understanding of good design, planning principles, and the importance of their natural resources. The goal is to actively transform neighborhoods for the better and help the Burton Street Community realize their positive vision for the future.
Before the 1950’s, the Burton Street Community of West Asheville was a bustling vibrant neighborhood that featured abundant trees, gardens, parks, and a strong sense of community. The expansion of Patton Avenue in the 1950’s and then I-240 in the 1960’s proved to be huge setbacks for the neighborhood. In the years following the two interstate expansions, the Burton Street Community struggled with an influx of poverty, drugs, and crime, as well as a lost sense of community.
The Burton Street Community decided that their goals are to improve community cohesion, improve infrastructure for safety and mobility, create new community spaces, ensure residential development and redevelopment is green, affordable, and compatible, and create new economic activity within the community. Since 2006, the community has received 1 million dollars in federal funds from the Department of Justice to implement the Weed and Seed program, which targets “weeds” such as crime and “seeds” the community with resources. Thanks to this program and the hard work of community members, the Burton Street Community is on its way to realizing its vision for the future.
AmeriCorps Project Conserve and VISTA volunteers will help implement the community’s goal of creating new community spaces and urban gardens on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Vacant lots that are scattered throughout the neighborhood will be transformed into productive spaces for the community where people can grow food and recreate.
AmeriCorps Project Conserve is an AmeriCorps program funded by the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and the Corporation for National Community Service. If you would like to join AmeriCorps Project Conserve and VISTA volunteers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a volunteer, please meet at the Burton Street Recreation Center at 134 Burton Street in Asheville at 10:30 a.m. Work will go on until 4:00 p.m. Tools will be provided.