The neighbourhood of Eastwood came together on Thursday, May 9, 2013 to celebrate the revitalization of a stretch of apartment buildings along 82nd Street. A mural created by a local artist and residents was dedicated to the community and placed on the west wall of the Mac’s Convenience Store on 120th Avenue and 82nd Street.
In 2009, the 118th Avenue Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (N.E.T.) began work around four low rise apartment buildings on 82nd Street in an effort to reduce police calls for service. Crime in and around the buildings, along with on-going tenant safety concerns, prompted the N.E.T. team to work with tenants, landlords and other community partners to renew the area.
In one building, Rutherford House, a single-day transformation took place—painting, carpentry, installation of blinds, and some outdoor gardening. Two winters in a row have seen a “Miracle on 82nd Street” when the back alleyway became a festive community gathering place with holiday lights. From building renovations to creative approaches such as the “Eyes on the Alley” project (reducing illegal dumping); these activities have brought people who live in the buildings closer to feeling safe where they live. Although N.E.T. has been involved in facilitating many of the above activities, tenants are now motivated and skilled at helping to keep their buildings safer.
“The building feels like a safer place. Safety has changed because we are a more connected community and work with one another to make it safe,” said Irene Peterson, tenant organizer at Rutherford House.