Sonia Valentin loves her block – and it shows.
The Bath Beach resident and Community Board 11 member decided toapply for the Love My Block grant award, sponsored by the CitizensCommittee of New York City, when a representative announced theprogram at a recent community board meeting.
Out of 200 applications, only 50 grants of $1,000 were awardedand Valentin’s effort snagged one of them. I was just overwhelmed- I never applied for a grant for neighborhood activities, sherecalled. I was pretty bowled over. I threw my hands up in the airand said Yes!’
Valentin has big plans for her block – Benson Avenue between16th Avenue and Bay 11th Street. She plans to use the funds to buybushes, bulbs, seeds and paint to brighten up fences and firehydrants. She will also look into purchasing some cement planters,planting new flower beds and will ask the city to plant some treeson her treeless block. But of course, Valentin has to get aconsensus from her neighbors first.
The big event is slated to take place on Saturday April 22, withthe rain date the following week. Valentin looks forward to workingwith her neighbors. Since out neighborhood is so diversified, weare going to have Asians, Italians, Puerto Ricans, Cubans andRussians, as well as religious groups like Hindus and Muslims cometogether as a community to spruce it up and make is shine.
The Love My Block grant also includes city services. TheDepartment of Sanitation, the Department of Transportation and theParks Department will pick up garbage, deliver mulch and seeds, andlend tools.
Valentin plans to make as much fun as she can out of the day. Iwill also be soliciting local merchants like Home Depot, Nick’sDiscount Store and Tasty Bagel to donate goods to make a hugeparty, since the block will be closed off, Valentin explained. Ialso have a friend who has chickens in his backyard and will askhim to donate some eggs.
She will also invite local politicians, and residents young andold, to come out and help. The underlying result is that the blocklooks nicer, Valentin said. The community will come together asone to do something that we can all be proud of.