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Local project helping neighborhood bloom

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— South Bend’s west side is embracing flower power to spread a little extra beauty throughout their community.

Community advocates are joining together to help raise funds to beautify the streets and prepare for a summer full of neighborhood events!

“It’s not just improved streets that make people want to visit,” said community advocate, Sam Centellas. “They want to know it’s going to be a nice experience that it’s going to be beautiful, people want to go to places that are beautiful. And we’ve done that here in this neighborhood and this is a way to maintain it.”

South Bend’s West Side has faced their own struggles in the fight to make their community a place you would want to stay and visit.

“7 years ago when you come down Western Avenue people just wanted sidewalks,” said Centellas. “There were barely even sidewalks out here.”

Beautification became a huge focus to draw in and keep business and families to the west side.

Not to forget flowers are a great way to enjoy the community when a pandemic is keeping us apart.

“The flowers you can enjoy them whether you’re walking down a sidewalk or just driving by,” said Centellas. “So these are a beneficial thing to have and now more than ever we need bright colorful we need things that make us happy and smile.”

Now, for their 6th year, the Blooms initiative is looking for people to help brighten up Western Avenue with a little flower power.

“Were sponsoring just the flower pots, they are $120 dollars each and and you get a name plaque on the flowers in the neighborhood,”said Centellas.

There are 30 flower pots up for grabs and Centellas says they could move on to hanging flower baskets if there is greater interest.

The sponsorship gives a full year of spring, summer, and fall flowers for any person, group, or business.

“So the money raised goes to help us cover costs from doing things like ribbon cuttings or events activities,” said Centellas.

All to share that west side pride with others and to put a spotlight on their unique small businesses.

“We’ve made this a neighborhood that people can be really proud of,” said Centellas. “The flowers initiative is a way to continue to beautify the neighborhood especially now with everything going on it’s just a way to have people come together.”

While the pandemic may have cancelled many of the typical jump into summer events indefinitely, that is not keeping the community from coming together to raise money for those events in the future to come back together.

“The flower pots have happened since the west side street project which is less than 5 years," said Centellas. "So it was actually part of what the community asked for so when the city did the south side main streets project and all to say we want investment on the west side to be like investment down town and that means people picking up trash, flowers, on street parking.”

If you are interested in donating or reserving you own flower pot you can purchase one through this site: https://givegrove.com/westsideblooms20

Otherwise you can call or email La Casa De Amistad to drop off or send in a physical check at: sam@lacasadeamistad.org  or (574) 233-2120.

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