Thursday, August 6, 2009

Check It Out: Greenest Block in Brooklyn

Greenest Block in BrooklynThe winning blocks for the 15th annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest were heralded yesterday at a press conference on the first-place residential block: Lincoln Road between Bedford and Rogers Avenues. Also present were representatives of the winning commercial block: Atlantic Avenue (south side) between Bond and Nevins Streets. The annual Greenest Block in Brooklyn Contest is a lively competition among thousands of borough residents committed to beautifying their neighborhoods and making Brooklyn greener.

The contest is managed by GreenBridge, the community environmental horticulture program of Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), in cooperation with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

This year’s winning residential block, Lincoln Road between Bedford and Rogers Avenues in Lefferts Gardens, has been selected not only for its gorgeous horticulture but also for its citizens’ cooperation and conservation work. The block is very large, with approximately 80 homes, and achieved over 80 percent participation by residents. The block association formed a “green team” to help identify needs, organize gardening work, and most importantly, model good gardening practices at their own homes. According to Tolonda Tolbert, president of the block association, the example set by a few residents inspired others to inquire about greening their property and was supported by cooperative efforts like a seed exchange, neighbor-to-neighbor gifting of window boxes, and more. Many residents who have lived on the block for 30 or 40 years trained newer neighbors—like Ms. Tolbert—on good gardening practices, and they in turn recruited their children. This multigenerational effort has resulted in a beautiful, vibrant block for all to enjoy.

Lincoln Road also distinguished itself with its abundance of curbside gardens. These narrow gardens replace the pavement between the sidewalk and the street with colorful, rainwater-absorbing planted beds. It is an excellent model of environmental sustainability for other Brooklyn blocks dominated by concrete and asphalt.


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