THE TRIANGLE NEIGHBORHOOD’S COMMUNITY MURAL BY DEVIN RANKIN

The Triangle Neighborhood is a vibrant community in downtown Phoenix. Our unique triangular boundaries for which the neighborhood is named are formed by Grand Avenue, Roosevelt, and 7th Avenue in downtown Phoenix. The Triangle Neighborhood Association was honored to receive a $1,000 Love Your Block grant to create a community mural by muralist Andy Brown (http://www.soldierleisure.com/) at our neighborhood park.

Hu-O-Te Park is a small community park at the North West corner of McKinley and 11th Ave. It had a large, drab grey block wall with patches of painted-over graffiti that served as the backdrop to the playground. It now hosts a beautiful neighborhood driven mural. The families of this neighborhood deserved a bright and clean place to gather and for their children to play. Murals encourage creativity, discourage graffiti and help to create a sense of neighborhood pride. In addition to the mural installation we cleaned the park and the alley entrance and replaced 20+ dead plants with brightly-colored, drought-tolerant lantana. This project brought our neighborhood together around a common goal and created new bonds that would not have been possible without this grant.

My advice to other neighborhood associations is to apply for the Love Your Block grant! It is not a tough application or reporting process and it was a really rewarding experience for our community that has led to additional unique opportunities. Make sure to involve business owners, churches, universities, etc in the area; you never know where those relationships might lead. One of the bigger challenges we faced was selecting our muralist, Andy Brown, and coordinating his busy schedule so that the neighborhood kids could paint with him. In order to select our muralist we created an arts committee and they ultimately made the decision after interviewing several local muralists with ties to downtown.

This was the first official project that helped us launch our neighborhood association. We were so grateful for the Love Your Block funds that allowed us to rally this neighborhood around a common cause. Thanks to the effort that we put in to developing our neighborhood association and this project we have been able to leverage this initial funding into additional opportunities. Through this project we developed a relationship with several local businesses including Tuft & Needle, the national mattress retailer with headquarters in our neighborhood. This relationship has produced additional funding for solar alley lighting and funding for a mid-block crosswalk on 7th Avenue between Van Buren and Roosevelt. After we received the Love Your Block grant, we also applied for a Block Watch grant and were able to secure another $950 for neighborhood Block Watch grant signage. Every dollar raised allows us to leverage more resources for projects in our neighborhood.

The Love Your Block Application is now available online at phoenix.gov/volunteer (click on “Love Your Block”) and the deadline is November 28th, 2016. Contact loveyourblock@hpnphx.org or (602) 262-4790 for more information.