On a recent Saturday, residents of three housing communities in Huntsville came together for the "Our Community, Our Responsibility" event focused on community building through community beautification. Spring Branch Apartments, a 2012 recipient of a Housing Credit allocation from AHFA, was proud to co-host this event that also served two Huntsville Housing Authority communities. Spring Branch representative and Neighborhood Concepts Executive Director Mary Ellen Judah noted that “the event is a great example of our commitment to strengthen communities not only through the development of affordable housing, but also through the coordination of activities with our neighbors to foster a sense of community throughout the entire neighborhood.”
With temperatures hovering in the upper 90s, more than 75 neighbors and friends picked up trash, worked in the Spring Branch community garden and spruced up neighborhood green spaces. After a productive morning, participants enjoyed hamburgers and hotdogs in the Spring Branch pavilion and cooled off in the property’s splash park.
More than 10 community organizations, including area non-profits, churches and members of the neighborhood Boys & Girls Club, provided volunteers, supplies and refreshments for the event. Operation Green Team, the City of Huntsville’s beautification department, was a major supporter of the event. “Our goal is to encourage communities to work together to keep their neighborhoods clean” said Joy McKee, the city’s director of landscape management and the Green Team. According to McKee, the inclusion of the Boys & Girls youth in the event was a “great opportunity to lead the next generation in keeping their communities clean as well as growing produce for the residents.”
Twelve young ladies from Cupcakes & Pearls, a faith-based, non-profit dedicated to teaching and empowering girls to become confident Christian leaders, assisted Neighborhood Concepts Asset Manager Shawnette Myers in planting and weeding the Spring Branch garden. Nikki Brown Johnson who volunteers with Cupcakes and Pearls stated that “the community clean up gave the girls the opportunity to serve in the community. The girls were able to clean and plant a garden for people less fortunate then themselves. The project taught our girls the value of teamwork and community while creating a better home environment for others.”
Jeff Rice, who is also an owner of Spring Branch, commended the team effort that went into the day’s event. “So often we operate in silos, but this community-wide activity demonstrated the real benefits of working in partnership with others”, said Rice. Celeste Stewart with ASM, the Spring Branch management company, echoed Rice’s comments stating that “this successful event was a wonderful show of community pride for the Spring Branch residents and their neighbors.”