From Eyesore to Eye Candy!

The Spruce Up Bruce Street Beautification Project is finally complete. Covid slowed us down, but what was once an eyesore is now eye candy!
Last year, the Cooper-Young Garden Club received a generous donation. This former CY neighbor requested we “Make something beautiful.” A thoughtful gift requires a special recipient. One area needing some TLC was Bruce Street, a gateway street bordering Cooper-Young.
Bruce Street struggled to be a beauty with so many problems to overcome. Residents complained on Nextdoor that keeping the street clean was futile. The car wash and Dollar Tree property trees covered the street in dead branches and leaf debris. Broken fence panels became a cut-through from the Dollar Tree to Bruce. Trash and liquor bottles followed. Scrub shrubs came up through the fence line. Homeowners facing the commercial properties had a bleak view.
The CY Garden Club sent out a paper and social media survey to all Bruce Street residents. We only heard from 4 interested homeowners out of 42 homes. More apathy than we imagined. From the surveys, we came up with a plan to make a noticeable difference. Our goal was to make people feel proud to live on Bruce. With pride comes ownership and motivation to carry on beautification.
In March, the club held it’s first “Spruce-Up-Bruce Street” clean up party. In two hours, we collected 40 bags of leaf debris, tires, broken bottles, concrete pieces, and trash. No wonder the street looked so dismal.

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Our Plan:

Next, we hired Mister Tree Service to limb up 30′ feet high, nine massive trees. This would reduce dead branches and leaf litter falling in the middle of the street.
The commerical property fence was too cost prohibitive for us to replace. Instead we commissioned a colorful mural to mark the entrance to Bruce at Young Avenue. Designed and painted by CY residents, Jake Fasano and Maggie Russel, it adds funk and whimsy to a bland fence. Flanked on either side are hanging planters.
Dan Elgart planted fourteen all-season shrubs to soften and obscure the fence. No easy feat, due to parking lot concrete and iron-hard soil. Bruce Street resident, Patrick Durkin, donated an Oakleaf Hydrangea.
To limit cut-through visitors and trash, Rex Johnson reinforced the fence boards. Later, Dollar Tree hired someone to replace broken fence boards. Thanks, Dollar Tree, for staying aware of the neighbor’s concerns.

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Next Steps:

Mr. + Mrs. Brown maintained the small garden along the fence. It was struggling from too much shade, weeds and erosion. It needed new plants, compost to loosen the soil, and edging. Steve Rogers, Michael Friedman, and Mr. Brown built new garden beds. The edged beds and railroad ties add definition and reduce the erosion problem.
Sharron Johnson donated buckets of her magic Stone Soup Compost. Club members provided shrubs, perennials, and annuals. These will add color and structure to the garden. Kudos to Chris Harris and Mr. Brown for placing and planting everything. Mr. Brown has additional ideas he wants to add to the area.
The club added a special sign celebrating Mr. + Mrs. Brown’s ownership and love of the garden.
Scrub shrubs growing between the Dollar Tree fence and sidewalk are a constant issue. We clipped them all at the the base. Bruce Street residents should plan on doing this about every 6 weeks to keep them under control.
Finally, we pruned the shrubs blocking the turning view at Bruce and Young. This should prevent future auto mishaps.
Today was our last day working on this project. The weather was perfect for raking, pruning, and planting. Our energetic volunteers made light work of overgrown shrubs and ever falling leaves. Our long-term plan is working. We bagged half the leaves and minuscule trash versus our initial spring cleaning day. Amber Hayes serenaded us with Flute Music, and Stone Soup Cafe and Market donated coffee and scones. Yum.  

Please click photo to enlarge and slide.

Bruce Street Residents, welcome to your beautiful street.
He was a diamond in the rough. The Cooper-Young Garden Club got you started with a direction. Now it’s your turn to look at your street with fresh eyes. With a little love and time each month, your street will remain a joy to live on
We offer a few suggestions for easy street maintanence:
How about a monthly street sweep? Meet your neighbors for a quick rake and prune, then celebrate with beverages and a potluck.
There’s a lot of fence between Young Avenue and Walker Avenue. Add your own garden art, birdhouses, hanging baskets, or paint mini-murals. Let your creativity shine.
Hang a dart board and compete with your neighbors. Build a street of tight-knit neighbors who talk, socialize, and look out for each other.
Commit to being on the annual Cooper-Young Garden Walk. Convince your neighbors to do the same. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll reap many benefits. Recognition of your hard work, a safer street, and higher property values, are a few.
If you appreciate what we’ve done to make our neighborhood more livable for everyone, and would like to see more beautification projects, make a tax deduction. We’re a 501(c)3 organization!
A hearty thank you everyone involved in this project:
  • Our anonymous, generous donor
  • The Cooper-Young Garden Club
  • Bruce Street Residents
  • Mr. + Mrs. Brown
  • Dan Elgart
  • Jim Wilson
  • Traivaugn Flowers
  • Chris Harris
  • Rex Johnson
  • Sharron Johnson
  • Marguerite Zeller
  • Ruth Ann
  • Kristen Daily
  • Demetrius Boyland
  • Jimmy McCown
  • Connie Arduini
  • Steve Rogers
  • Michael Friedman
  • Patrick Durkin
  • Kim Halyak
  • Maggie Russell
  • Jake Fasano
  • Kenzie Campbell
  • Midtown Living Magazine
  • Judi Shellabarger
  • Amber Hayes
  • Dollar Tree Management
  • Stone Soup Cafe
  • To anyone I forgot to mention, thank you!
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