Friday, July 9, 2010

JulyFest and the Greening of Binghamton

Today was JulyFest, the annual festival in Downtown Binghamton.

I am so happy to see that JulyFest, after being in a funk for several years, has worked its way back up to being something worthwhile to visit.

I was even happier to see various nonprofit (or nonprofitlike) booths advertising themselves.  The ACA (American Civic Association, site of the tragic mass murder shooting of April 3, 2009) was there and I spoke to one of their representatives for a few minutes.

Then I saw the booth for something called VINES.  This is short for "Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments". I wasn't able to speak to anyone there but I got their brochure.  The website is part of the City of Binghamton website.  Believe me, Binghamton can use all the greening it can get.

(Flashback: the newspaper never offered to print my letter on how a flowering tree festival could benefit Binghamton visually and perhaps even financially.  Oh well.)

But back to this booth:  VINES (quoting from their brochure) "has a vision of a system of community gardens and parks which are within walking distance of every resident and strong communities where residents care for community spaces and each other."  Right now they have 5 garden sites and many of these (if not all) are not...let's say, in Binghamton's better neighborhoods.   This is certainly admirable.  Of course, like any other nonprofit, they are going to need to get a lot of donations, apply and get grants, and so forth.

Their meetings are held monthly on the 2nd Tuesday at RiverRead books (located in one of the buildings featured in my recent blog post on the downtown mosaic.).  Of course let's see if I "walk the walk" and show up at one.  Seems like, by the day the work day is done, so is my energy.

But back to JulyFest, it was fun, even though it was hitting 90 degrees with a lot of humidity.  The good news is, the heat wave should be just about over.

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