Community Comes Together for 'Big Day of Serving'
Residents of the Bristoe Station neighborhood have teamed up with the City of Manassas and area businesses to take on projects aimed at cleaning up and revitalizing a local neighborhood.
It's been touted as the "Big Day of Serving"— a one day, one community, one impact revitalization project in the Bristoe Station neighborhood, a 40-year-old community of 550 townhomes near Ashton Avenue and Confederate Trail in Manassas— but city employees and residents of the community have been working behind the scenes since March.
"When you take pride in your community, good things happen," said Paul Lynch, Sr. Property Code Enforcer for the City of Manassas.
City of Manassas Neighborhood Services Coordinator Christen Zenich has been instrumental in the organization of the event. She's coordianated with 23 private residents for special back yard clean-up projects and area businesses for the resurrection of the community's common grounds, including painting an old basketball court and fixing up the neighborhood pavilion and playgrounds.
On Friday, resident Vanslyn Fuller, a retired Army veteran from Desert Storm, got a head start working alongside volunteers to construct stairs and a fence in her backyard.
"They were falling apart," Fuller said of the stairs that take her down to her backyard. Fuller said the event and all the work that has gone into making it happen has provided a renewed sense of community, knowing that the city is there to help.
"I think in the beginning there was doubt if the city would follow through," Fuller said. But everyone realized it was really going to happen and we got excited."
Fullers said she hopes her community will continue the great things that have been started. "I hope we do not let it fall to the wayside again," she said.
Jessic Rigney lives just one street over from Fuller and is having a shed constructed in her back yard to "help eliminate the clutter." And just a few doors down from Jessica, the Davis Family will be getting a new patio to replace an old deck.
Ron Davis and the rest of the residents had to pay for the materials for the projects, but community business partner Lowe's, located on Sudley Road, provided 20 percent off coupons for items such as pavers, lumber and fencing for the projects. In total, residents spent around $5,000 for the improvements. Volunteers helped provide the labor.
"I think it's the most wonderful thing that's happened to the community in the 11 years that I've lived here," Davis said.
Davis said he's not liked the direction the community has gone in the last decade, and hopes it takes the opportunity provided by the city and local businesses for a fresh start.
"I wanted to be a part of what is going on, be a part of turning things around," said Davis, who has worked for Fairfax County for 25 years. "My wife is a stay-at home-mom of four, and with a single income, this event is affording me the ability to replace my deck and focus my resources on other projects for my house, like repairing the fence."
Several area businesses have donated products, or volunteers for the event. Lowe's donated flowers, rakes, and picnic tables, among other things; and Walmart, Target, Lowe's and Kohl's are all supplying Corporate Volunteer teams. Shoppers Food Warehouse is supplying 600 doughnuts for the opening ceremonies.
Neighborhood Services Manager Kisha Wilson-Sogunro said her hope for the event is to "connect businesses and neighborhoods and create partnerships between the two that can be good for the community."
Mark Olson, owner of Old Town Landscaping, volunteered his time as well as equipment to trim tree limbs and other shrubbery, cut the grass, distribute mulch to common areas and homes and remove dead trees in the neighborhood, including one tree that had to be removed from a resident's yard with a crane because it was so large—a job that would normally cost $5,000.
Commonwealth Recycle Aggregates donated two tractor trailer loads of mulch and the city donated one dump truck load full. Centreville Sod, of Nokesville, donated three pallets of of sod for four townhomes.
"This is a great opportunity for the community and to get things done around the house," said Manassas City Police Lt. Steve Neely.
An estimated 700 youth and adult volunteers all wearing white t-shirts will take to the neighborhood Saturday morning, May 5, following a kick off rally at the local Boys & Girls Club, for a day of raking, mulching, landscaping, litter and trash pickup, graffiti removal, sign painting, installation of playground equipment and mural painting. Their efforts will be rewarded during a neighborhood block party, complete with live music and food provided by Old Town Sports Pub later in the day.
Residents will have access to e-waste (TVs, computers, etc.) and household hazardous waste (old paint, chemicals, etc.) disposal stations, as well as 'roll offs' for excess trash and recycling.
Full Schedule: Saturday, May 5, 2012
8 am Kickoff Rally at Boys & Girls Club, 9501 Dean Park Lane, Manassas
9 am Work projects on site (see map for parking and projects)
12 pm Lunch at neighborhood work sites
1 pm Work projects on site (see map for parking and projects)
3 pm Cinco de Mayo Block Party at the neighborhood open air pavilion
City of Manassas Neighborhood Services and its community partners have been awarded a $1,000 grant by Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB) for the big day. Other sponsors include: sponsors and partners include: American Disposal; BJ’s Wholesale; Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, Manassas Branch; Capital Rentals; Centreville Sod; Commonwealth Recycle Aggregates; Communty Thrift; Didlake, Inc.; Evergreen Community Church; GroupMissionTrips.com; Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Manassas & Manassas Park; House of Mercy; Kohl’s; Lowe’s; Manassas Assembly of God; McLane Manassas; Mike Garcia Construction; Olde Towne Landscaping; ProShred; Salvation Army; Shoppers Food Warehouse; US Foodservice Manassas; Walgreens, Walmart, Waste Management and Yard by Yard Landscaping.