King, Baychester residents plant 9-11 daffodils

A volunteer showed another volunteer how to plant flower bulbs while Councilman King (c) assisted her.
Community News Group / Arthur Cusano

Volunteers in the northern Bronx spent several hours earlier this week planting the seeds for a nicer neighborhood – or bulbs, to be more specific.

Several volunteers joined Councilman Andy King on Wednesday, September 20 in the Baychester area near Boston Post Road, where they spent three hours planting daffodil bulbs along residential Needham Avenue and the Boston Post Road business district.

“When spring comes around again, we’ll be even more beautiful here in the borough of the Bronx,” King said. “When you come to the 12th (Council District), you’re not going to feel like you’re in a concrete jungle – you’re going to feel at home, you’re going to feel love. Today we’re putting a little love into the ground.”

Leading the event was neighborhood resident Petrona Smith, a TreeLC Care Captain commissioned by the city after undergoing training through the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Smith is also a member of the citywide Daffodil Project, which plants daffodil bulbs each fall in all five boroughs as a living memorial to victims of the September 11 attacks.

“Last fall, along with a few helpers, I planted bulbs along this avenue and I said this has to be extended through District 12,” Smith said.

She hoped to raise awareness for the program, which donated the hundreds of bulbs used in Tuesday’s project.

King said beautifying the council district, which includes Woodlawn, Williamsbridge, Wakefield, Baychester, Eastchester and Co-op City, had been a goal since he was elected, and that he has organized monthly cleanups on the 12th of each month.

“We do a cleanup with the NYC Department of Sanitation and volunteers, and we are also partnering with Publicolor (a city non-profit that gets kids involved with painting buildings) to make sure our schools look beautiful,” he said.

Also volunteering were representatives from the Bissel Garden community garden and River’s Run development in Co-op City.

Paul Kittas of Bissel Gardens said his organization supplied the tools used for the planting.

“Like Councilman King, we just like to participate in the neighborhood and we thought this was a good opportunity,” Kittas said.

The city is also planting hundreds of new trees across the city in the coming months, including King’s district.

He said he would be encouraging merchants along the business corridors to get involved with the project.

“They’re going to be responsible for helping to maintain them – that means keeping them trash free, that if the weeds start growing to cut them down and plant more flowers instead to keep it beautiful along our corridors.”

The councilman also urged residents to take ownership in their neighborhood by removing trash or trimming overgrown brush instead of just calling 311 to submit a complaint.

“No one takes care of your neighborhood like you take care of your neighborhood,” King said.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano

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