Community comes together to perform service on University Hill

Community groups that are committed to revitalizing and beautifying University Hill are working together on a variety of painting, gardening and clean-up projects scheduled to occur on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The AACT Coalition (Addressing Alcohol Concerns Together, a campus-community coalition) is organizing a "day of service" during which a student group will pair with Hill community members and their families with young children to revive a stretch of boulevard on College Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. The group will work primarily in the morning, planting flowers and vegetation in what is currently a dirt patch.

The goal is to build community relationships, community pride and improved neighborhood livability. This newly refurbished boulevard will serve as a beautified "gateway" to the neighborhood. FourStar Realty and Boulder Municipal Court have pledged to provide funding for plants; several city departments have offered in-kind support and other donations are being sought for the remainder of the supplies.

Additional activity will occur across the street. The Hill Ownership Group, CU instructor Tyler Alpern and a large contingent of CU students from the Libby Arts Residential Academic Program will paint a mural of the Flatirons on the alley wall of the old Flatirons Theater building.

This is the first artistic wall mural to come from a collaboration involving private commercial building owners and local arts groups. Urban Frontier offered the Flatirons Theater building as a canvas and provided funding to make this mural a reality. Future partnerships are intended to bring together other UniHill building owners and talented artists affiliated with OpenArts Boulder and BMoCA, as funding options are identified.

"As a member of both the AACT coalition and the Hill Ownership group, I am excited to see all of the positive momentum surrounding the Hill. Everyone who has a stake on the Hill – from business owners, to landlords, to property managers, to students, and the greater residential community – want a cleaner, safer, more beautiful Hill. Both the mural project and the gardening project are examples of these diverse groups coming together to create a better community," said Caldwell Sullivan of Fourstar Realty.

In addition, the city's University Hill Management Division has scheduled power-washing of the sidewalks in the commercial district on the morning of Sept. 24, and Western Disposal will be donating their services and participating in clean-up effort designed to remove litter and set an expectation about quality of life on the Hill in preparation for additional upcoming initiatives.

"We want to help show tenants, residents, property owners and visitors how clean the Hill can be and set an example to be followed that includes proper disposal of trash with no need to litter. We're proud to be a community partner in this effort to create a cleaner University Hill," said Gary Horton, CEO of Western Disposal Services.

Both city and university officials expressed excitement about the projects and the potential for continued partnership opportunities with the community that is the most affected.

"We are delighted to be involved in positive collaboration efforts that incorporate the ideas and vision of people who live and work on the Hill," said City Manager Jane Brautigam. "While work remains to be done, cleaning up the area and making it more attractive is a concrete first step toward addressing important quality of life concerns."

This is a great example of what can happen working together.

"Both the mural project and the concurrent gateway garden are tangible steps in demonstrating a new culture and standard on the Hill," said Bill Shrum, the CU Student Government director of neighborhood relations. "I expect this will only be the beginning of much more to come in the following year or two."

"Students and CU staff working side-by-side with businesses and Hill residents will help further mutual understanding and build community," said Deb Coffin, interim vice chancellor for student affairs. "We remain committed to these initiatives."

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