Weed and Seed neighbors get to know each other at neighborhood gatherings

(Plain Press, September 2006) Weed and Seed, a federal initiative that aims to "weed" out the criminal elements of a neighborhood and then "seed" that same neighborhood with preventive, intervention and treatment services as well as neighborhood restoration, has been working diligently this summer to engage the residents of West 73rd to West 85th from Lorain Ave. to Lake Ave. On July 29th, 2006, Weed and Seed hosted their third annual Youth Safety Fair. Safety forces from federal to local levels were represented as over 500 residents came out on Elton and Dudley Avenue to mingle with the police, fire, EMS, Sheriff's Office, FBI, DEA and a slew of other safety forces.

 "We took a part of our targeted neighborhood that is known for outsiders coming in, doing illegal activity and gave it back to the residents if only for a couple of hours", stated Brian Kazy, Project Coordinator for the Weed and Seed Initiative. "This display of resident involvement shows that there are still good families, caring individuals and love for this neighborhood. To have over 500 people on the streets engaging one another, talking, getting along with not one incident of drugs or violence should be a sign to the individuals who come into this neighborhood that enough is enough. This neighborhood belongs to the residents not the visitors who seem to believe that our neighborhood is an open market."

 The Youth Safety Fair was equipped with vehicles from the City of Cleveland Department of Police, Fire and EMS. The fire department brought their smoke house where children learn how to get out of a burning house and they even opened the fire hydrants for kids to run through. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office brought their emergency response vehicle for families to tour. There was a petting zoo, pony rides, clowns, a safety magic show as well as free hot dogs, chips and pop for the residents.

 Weed and Seed was right back at it on Saturday August 19th as they threw an old fashioned neighborhood picnic. Again, the numbers were staggering. Over 200 residents gathered at Madison Park at West 75th and Madison.

 "The Weed and Seed Neighborhood Picnic was geared toward the residents and the youth of the neighborhood getting to know one another," stated Brian Kazy. "We were able to provide school supplies, t-shirts, hot dogs, chips and pop. The DJ kept the residents entertained and the youth played games all afternoon. The feeling that you get when a whole neighborhood comes together to get to know one another is awesome. Weed and Seed is not just about the 'weeding', it is the 'seeding' that can truly make the difference".

 For more information regarding the Weed and Seed Initiative, please contact Brian Kazy, Project Coordinator at 216-961-4242 x 225.

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