On October 16th, the 2nd Annual Vliet Street Pumpkin Patch Event, took place. The event, co-hosted by the Near West Side Partners, along with Pete’s Pops and CMS construction, brought together over 200 Near West Side families and children. The pop-up pumpkin patch, offered pumpkin bowling and painting, Halloween decoration give-aways and served hot cider for all. Every child who attended the event left with a pumpkin and warm, family memories.
The pumpkin extravaganza took place a week after the Near West Side Beautification Event. A team came together to coordinate efforts after the 2021 3 Day Appreciative Inquiry Summit. The group, made up of community members and Near West Side employees of several institutions, banded together to bring beauty, sustainability and renewal to each site. Employees from Harley-Davidson, Molson-Coors and Near West Side Partners led the beautification efforts.
Four teams accomplished clean-up, and “green-ups”, in four spots across the Near West Side. A team was assigned to College Court with a planting initiative; NWSP and residents focused on landscaping, cleaning up existing plants and adding new greenery. Vliet Street volunteers completed tree maintenance at Martin Drive Park, winterized garden beds for the upcoming freezing season and restored the area to its full potential with trash and landscape clean-up.
Two of the teams worked at Harley Davidson and Story School in a “cup-in” event. Volunteers secured plastic cups to pre-existing fences to make an art-work display, for the community, made by the community.
Lindsey St.Arnold Bell, Near West Side Partners associate and coordinator, said the beautification team’s efforts stemmed from a desire, from both residents and employees of the Near West Side, to create and maintain beauty within the neighborhood. This initiative was inspired from previous years’ community clean-up events, but focused on long-term and lasting beautification efforts.
St.Arnold Bell stated that events like these are even more important after over a year of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to get back together with friends, neighbors and residents at events that bring the community together and work hands-on, is helping the Near West Side reconnect from a year of separation.