On Thursday afternoon, July 20, Cedar Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program staff joined with enthusiastic young volunteers and project partners at the Cedar Riverside/West Bank Safety Center to celebrate the successful conclusion of our West Bank Walks program.
Attendees at our West Bank Walks project celebration enjoyed food, shared stories of their project experiences, and listened to words of encouragement and inspiration from our special guest, Commander Charlie Adams, who leads the Minneapolis Police Department’s Division of Community and Collaborative Advancement. Jan Morlock, Director of Community Relations at the University of Minnesota, also thanked volunteers and highlighted the importance of their efforts to keeping the West Bank a welcoming place for all. Ahmed Wassie, KFAI Radio deejay, shared his experience and perspective as a lifelong West Banker who came to our neighborhood in 1972 as a new American.
Financial support from the University of Minnesota’s Good Neighbor Fund enabled CRNRP to coordinate 15 safety walks/neighborhood cleanup events conducted in every sector of our community between August 2016 and June 2017. Volunteers made new friends and spent time in parts of the neighborhood they had never visited before.
More than 175 volunteers contributed 280 hours of time and removed 126 bags of trash while cleaning up 77 graffiti incidents. Neighborhood youth not only participated in cleanup efforts on several occasions, they also helped recruit other volunteers to join our efforts.
Through a sponsorship agreement with KFAI radio, we spread awareness of the project on-air in several languages to highlight civic participation and neighborhood pride as shared values for all West Bank community members.
As part of the project, CRNRP is still conducting a survey of community members on their perception of safety on the West Bank, so if you get a chance to fill out this survey and share the link with other community members, we appreciate your help with that.
We wish to thank our West Bank Walks project partners who generously gave time, energy and other resources to help make the project successful:
- Courtney Barrette and Merrie Benasutti, U of M, Humphrey School
- Abdirizak Bihi, Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center
- Tom Foerster and Zev Radziwill, West Bank Parks
- Zahra Muse and Jamie Schumacher, West Bank Business Association
- Carla Nielson, Crime Prevention Specialist, MPD and Cedar Riverside / West Bank Safety Center
- Akiko Ostlund, Northern Spark Festival/Intermedia Arts
- Steve Peacock, Augsburg College
- Russom Solomon, Red Sea Restaurant and Bar/West Bank Safety Committee
- Katie Thornton and Ahmed Wassie, KFAI Radio
- Jennifer Webber, Cedar Riverside Charter School/Cedar Explorers
- Peg Wolff, U of M, Community Relations Department
- Debbie Wolking, West Bank Community Development Corporation