How to be a good neighbor this summer
I think we can finally say that summer is officially here. It’s been great to trade boots for sandals, get out our bikes and rediscover the Cultural Trail, spend an afternoon at the zoo, begin harvesting the salad greens and strawberries from our backyard garden, and play outside more. If you’re looking for some new ways to be a good neighbor this summer, consider these:
1. Adopt your block -- Today, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is honoring it’s successful Adopt-a-Block captains from all over the city with flats of flowers for their neighborhoods. If your block hasn’t been adopted, yet, why not volunteer to take it on? KIB says, “Neighbors keep their block clean of litter on an on-going basis, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful provides them with tools and resources to help in their efforts. Individuals volunteer as block coordinators to lead in their block’s beautification.
KIBI provides the tools, trees, and flowers, and neighbors beautify our city together, block by block.” Who can argue with great free stuff that makes your own space more beautiful?
2. Do something fun with your yard or porch. The internet abounds with great, cheap and creative ideas to make your outdoor space fun and inviting. See here or here or here for some of my favorites. In one afternoon, I created an outdoor reading nook, put a fresh coat of paint on all my doors, bought a couple of new pillows from Target and hung lights for a beautiful front porch. My husband and I take a drink and a book out there almost every evening for impromptu gatherings with neighbors who happen to be passing by.
3. Plant flowers and trees. Instead of bemoaning a lack of green space, Bates-Hendricks neighborhood president, John Winter, started buying little vacant parcels of land and landscaping them. Some hold flowers and trees, and one contains a mini orchard and fruit garden. When a proposed development on a large empty lot in the neighborhood was halted, John gathered neighbors and filled the perimeter of the lot with trees, rose bushes and other plants. It’s so beautiful now, that we’ll all not mind if the development doesn’t happen for awhile.
4. Host a porch party -- Sometimes having people over can be something intimidating. We all want to do it, but all the little tasks can seem overwhelming. All you have to do for a porch party is sweep your porch, maybe set out a few extra chairs, and invite your neighbors. A bag of chips, a bowl of salsa and growler from your favorite local brewery can make for a great, easy evening. Don’t be surprised if your new friends hang around for quite awhile . . . there is something magical about being outside on a summer evening. On July 13, the City Gallery is sponsoring “the world’s largest porch party.” We’re hoping to have neighbors all across the city outside on their front porches together. The first 60 people to turn in a photo of their event and a short blog for us to post will get a $25 gift certificate to the locally owned business of their choice and be entered to win a $250 gift certificate from the Harrison Center. If you’d like to host a party, you can sign up here.
We’d love to hear how you are celebrating and building community this summer.