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Year Established: 1995
Community Group: 4400 Maypole Block Club
NeighborSpace Partnership: 2004
The physical beauty of the Maypole Block Club Garden is obvious: its centrally located gazebo features hanging baskets of brightly colored flowers and ample seating around its perimeter. A spectacular bed of roses just beyond the garden’s entrance greets all visitors with its red-hued blooms. But beyond the garden’s physical attributes, it offers residents a spirit of community respect that started with the Block Club and resulted in the development of the Maypole Garden that has strengthened the overall neighborhood. “It’s like the garden made the block more peaceful,” says community leader Minnie Smith who lives directly across from the garden. “More people started to respect the space and the block since there is somewhere for them to enjoy the outdoors.” From one weekend to the next the Maypole Garden plays host to a range of neighborhood events, from potluck lunches to birthday parties.
The Maypole Avenue Block Club has a long history of taking good care of the 4400 West Maypole area – keeping it clean and safe. One blight on the block was an abandoned building that seemed to attract trouble and, after it was torn down, quite a bit of trash. Neighbors felt that the space did not appropriately represent the community, so after a while the Club took things into its own hands and created the early edition of the Maypole Garden. The Club was able to leverage the involvement of multiple organizations, including NeighborSpace, to evolve the Maypole Garden into its current state. In Minnie’s words, they set out to turn the eyesore into a place that better reflected the spirit of the community: “The Maypole Block Club members decided to take charge and clean this space to create a beautiful neighborhood garden where we would be able to enjoy the beauty of a garden created in love and respect.”
In Minnie’s Words: Beyond its initial assistance in obtaining the land, NeighborSpace has helped keep the Maypole Garden green and growing, helping the community gardeners maintain the space in a number of ways. “My experience with the garden is knowing that I have made a difference in my community with a sense of pride and beauty, with the help of NeighborSpace.”
Best Practice Idea: According to Minnie, garden maintenance is most successful when a range of community groups are offered the chance to participate. This includes schools, churches and other active organizations.