Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Hudson River Housing teamed up with Middle Main and hosted a Beautification Day in the City of Poughkeepsie. Joining them was PAUSE, and a group known as Bike & Build. Bike & Build organizes groups of riders who get together and bike across the country helping with revitalization projects (such as Middle Main’s) that benefit affordable housing. The team that rode through Poughkeepsie started in Portland, Maine and will end up in Santa Barbara, California. Bike and Ride was previously in Poughkeepsie in 2009.
The riders split up into groups and helped with various projects created by Middle Main, HRH, and PAUSE. Two murals were painted, trash picked up, Fallkill Creek dredged for trash, storm drains marked, and seating/platforms built and the Metropolitan Block/535 Main cleaned up. For video footage of the murals, check out earlier posts in our blog. More video will be up soon, so stay tuned!
The day started out bright and early at 8am, with many enthusiastic cyclists, and members of the Poughkeespsie community. The group that was with PAUSE helped build three large platforms that will serve as seating when not in use, and can be placed together to make a performance stage. After going through many screws, batteries, and lots of sweat, the team took a break for lunch at the Public Service Building – local businesses provided lunches for the day.
After lunch, PAUSE received fill dirt that had been generously donated by Red Wing Sand & Gravel. As it is not yet growing season, we only planted basic grass seed but are planning to add more grass come September and are scheming with ideas for a community garden/park space. We do have a vision that we would like to see completed!
Throughout the day, we were approached by many people that were just walking by and wanted to know what we were doing. Some asked what they could do to get involved, and others were appreciative of the positive energy being brought into the area. Everyone was curious. A major goal of PAUSE is to get the community involved with what we are doing; to gain their trust, interest, and support. The more people we can reach out to the more we hope to get people interested in their home city of Poughkeepsie, and who want to see change happen and are willing to get active to achieve it.
The day was long and hot, but definitely worth it. You could tell that everyone was proud of their hard work! It is always amazing to see how just something so little as picking up trash can instantly transform a place into something brighter, more comfortable and a place that you don’t mind hanging out at. I can imagine what Metropolitan Block and Poughkeepsie will look like when the transformations really begin to pick up!