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Community members spruce up Farmers Boulevard

A six-block stretch of Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans is looking a little nicer after a community clean-up effort there Saturday morning.

The Beautify Farmers Boulevard initiative, spearheaded by the Farmers Boulevard Community Development Corp., and made possible with the help of a $1,000 Love Your Block grant from the nonprofit Citizens Committee for New York City, attracted about 150 community members who gave up a few hours of their time to improve their neighborhood.

From picking up trash to cleaning up tree beds and planting flowers, teams of children and engaged adults volunteered to help transform Farmers Boulevard from Murdock Avenue to 111th Road during the third-annual event. They used tools provided by the city Sanitation Department and benefited from the guidance and assistance of other city agencies and elected officials, including state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who stopped by to get their hands dirty with attendees.

Diahann Billings-Burford, chief service officer for NYC Service, a mayor’s office initiative aimed at community service opportunities, said the event was a huge success.

“The purpose is to bring people together over very positive community development,” she said. “We want people to volunteer to do things that are needed in the community. It’s service that’s guided by a local civic group — the Farmers Boulevard CDC.”

Youths were essential to the clean-up effort, and they were given a number of tasks essential to the mission of beautifying one of the major thoroughfares in St. Albans.

The Royal Basketball Academy, NBA star Royal Ivey’s Queens-based youth basketball program, sent a team of youngsters to help with the effort.

Children from the African Center for Community Empowerment, at 111-20 Farmers Blvd. painted tree guards Friday, which adults installed Saturday morning, and the kids returned later that day to plant flowers in the beds they are meant to protect.

Isa Abdur-Rahman, executive director of the Farmers Boulevard CDC, brought his 4-year-old son Ibraheem along to participate in the “green-up” event, which Isa said was not only a way to better the community, but also to bring people together for a good cause.

“I watered the flowers. I like to do that,” Ibraheem said. “I was excited to come out here and do some fun stuff. The best part was planting the flowers because that’s my favorite thing to do because I like flowers.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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