Even though the temperature doesn’t always feel like a warm spring day, at the very least the Mayor’s Spring Clean Up has arrived! Join us this Saturday 4/26 on Whitelock St. from 9:30am-12:00pm to tidy up your block with some paper trash bags and hand tools, pick up a gator bag for your young tree, and make good use of (a promised, but not yet confirmed) City-provided dumpster at Whitelock and Brookfield. Neighbors can also head straight over to the Linden Lot project at Linden Ave. and Brooks Ln. to help finish the tree planting and landscaping from last fall.
When Whitelock gives you rocks, you make rock walls! This weekend we continued to scour our piles of granite to select the pieces with the best flat surfaces for mortaring together. Our hope is that the wall will be a comfortable place to sit and host upcoming neighborhood potluck dinners. We probably have about one more full day of work left to complete the project, but we’ve already gotten faster and more confident since starting last week.
We had great volunteer support this weekend, starting with Byron, our instructor from MICA’s Social Design masters program, and continuing with Chris, Duwon, Toby, Everton, Andrea, Alan, and all the way to Ethan (seen below in the baby sling)! If you’re interested in learning about future opportunities to help, we hope to sponsor these kinds of workdays almost every weekend this spring and summer.
After a long, cold winter, it feels good to get outside! It feels even better to be able to actually build things with all the rocks we’ve collected, instead of just moving them around from pile to pile. This past weekend we worked with two local masons to help train neighbors (and especially young people) how to build park benches and walls with pieces of granite, concrete, and brick dug up from the old foundations of the original Whitelock store buildings. Our goal for these park installations is not only to provide folks with comfortable seating near newly planted trees, but also to continue to develop community projects that are built by the same people who will use them.
We hope we’ll have many more opportunities for neighbors to join us at upcoming workshops this spring and summer!
Thanks to Byron for helping teach us how to “butter our bread” with mortar:
And thanks to Will for teaching us how to use all the debris we’ve collected (even plastic bottles filled with dirt) to build bench forms at the park entryway:
A few weeks ago, hundreds of people joined us for “The Afro-Semitic Experience” concert at Beth Am, where the crowd drummed, danced, and sang together in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. For those who could not attend, check out this video produced by Baltimore City Public Schools showing how Beth Am, John Eager Howard Elementary School, Child First Authority, New Lens, and RHIC partnered to create our very own youth drum corps:
One of the principal reasons for starting this blog in 2011 was to share pictures from our many community events. Since then, nearly every post has included some sort of photographic contribution by Howard Fink, a longtime Reservoir Hill resident who was devoted to capturing the many great moments happening throughout the neighborhood. He was a dedicated member of the RHIC Green Team, chronicling every tree planting and community clean up day no matter how small the event or how bad the weather was that day. Though our work in the community will continue, our memories will not be as vivid without Howard.
This exchange in the comments section of our “Pictures” page says it all:
LOST A DEAR FRIEND
May you rest in peace, old friend. You’ll be remembered.
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 – 10:00 am
Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc.
8900 Reisterstown Road • Pikesville, Maryland, 21208
Internment and shiva to follow
Howard was a Reservoir Hill native, his family having moved to Reservoir Hill in the mid-1950s. Living in the house he inherited from his parents on Park Avenue, Howard was a constant presence in Reservoir Hill, with his cameras slung around his neck. He was also the force behind the restoration of the fountain at Park Avenue and Whitelock Street. He was a dedicated volunteer, devoted member of Beth Am Synagogue, and a chronicler of Reservoir Hill life. Howard gave generously of his photographic avocation and captured many, many moments in the life of Reservoir Hill.
Take some time to walk through some of the moments:
You don’t have to be an eagle-eyed observer to notice that something is different on Whitelock St. over the last week. Indeed, we now have 3 gleaming green rat-proof trash cans strategically located to track the route of the #5 bus route at Whitelock and Callow, Whitelock and Brookfield, and Whitelock and Linden.
Blue Water Baltimore and Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) are working with RHIC on a pilot program to test whether street trash cans can actually help reduce litter in neighborhoods. The pilot program process will have neighborhood monitors submit weekly reports to make sure that the cans are being used properly, and DPW will empty the cans twice a week.
If you ever notice that any of the trash cans are overflowing or that household trash is being dumped nearby, please call 311 and report to the operator the number you see on the side of the can and that you are calling in reference to the “Reservoir Hill Corner Can Pilot Program.” These calls will then be integrated into the project evaluation reports we receive from Blue Water Baltimore and Baltimore City DPW.