Lyndale residents interested in improving landscaping on their blocks should check out the Crime Prevention Mini Grant Program, available through the Lyndale Neighborhood Association. The program gives money to projects that both link neighbors and alleviate crime through landscaping or gardening. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until this December.
Past projects inspired the installation of small fences at 3200 Grand Ave. S., the creation of tile mosaics at 3200 Harriet Ave. S. and, most notably, a "peace park" at Charles Horn Terrace, 3110 Blaisdell Ave. S.
Fred Markus, one of Horn Tower’s Peace gardeners, said the park brought their residents and the Southwest community together. The garden is a perfect spot for picnics, ice cream socials and block parties.
According to Markus, they haven’t had any problems with pilfering. The Horn Tower gardens are safe. "That’s flower power. Don’t touch our tomatoes," Markus joked. "But really, people respect growing things."
This respect also establishes, as Markus put it, a "first line of defense" around the towers. And it’s a fairly inexpensive defense system to install. "People who don’t have a lot of money can grow flowers," said Markus.
Up to $500 may be awarded to single-block projects and $3,000 for multiple block projects and garden-club improvements. Projects involving partnerships may obtain up to $5,000.
Projects must meet the Lyndale association’s criteria for community involvement, including a minimum number of participating households and a plan for individual roles and responsibilities. One or more block residents should be a trained CCP/SAFE block leader.
The project should use principles of CPTED to improve livability and establish long-term physical changes.
The Lyndale Crime & Drug Committee will review all grants.
Norma Pietz, the Lyndale Neighborhood Association’s project manager, has made use of grant funds on her block twice. She and her neighbors planted decorative bunkers along their street to create a "Blooming Boulevard."
"We planted flowers there to show that people are watching the alley and the street. We’re putting an effort in," she said, "Our eyes are on the street."
Projects are made possible by a grant from the State of MN Office of Drug Policy and Violence Prevention. Residents interested should contact Kristine Danzinger, the Lyndale Neighborhood Association organizer, 824-9402, extension 16.