We are working hard every day to help build a brighter and cleaner community that our residents are proud to live, work and play.

This past weekend the Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association hosted its semi-annual Neighborhood Cleanup. The cleanup was followed by a community cookout. Manheim Park residents were joined by over 25 members of the Hyde Park neighborhood, Rockhill neighborhoods, University of Kansas students and members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church.

As summer approaches, residents in Manheim Park took action to improve and beautify their neighborhood by cleaning up vacant lots, removing tires and planting in the neighborhood community garden. The Green Impact Zone worked in partnership with Kansas City, Mo., Neighborhood Housing Services to provide dumpsters for the neighborhood clean-up event.

Helping people and neighborhoods build their own capacity to make a difference is a key strategy in the Green Impact Zone. Historic Manheim Park plans to have their next neighborhood clean-up in July 2010.

The Green Impact Zone will host a rain garden workshop and demonstration this Saturday at 48th & Volker Blvd. http://bit.ly/cw3qE3

Spring is in the air, and at the Green Impact Zone we’re getting excited about gardening. We learned a lot from Rashid Nuri, the urban gardening expert from Atlanta who spoke at our community event on March 27, and we can’t wait to get out and start digging and planting. Zone residents were inspired by Mr. Nuri, too. Here’s what one of them had to say:

“My children and I attended the Green Impact Zone Expo at Paseo Academy this Saturday. It was an eye-opening and unique family experience. The expo kicked off with a presentation by Rashid Nuri, a gardening and community building expert. He heads the Truly Living Well natural urban farm in Atlanta, Georgia. He reminded the audience that ‘The earth returns to us, what we return to the earth’ as a part of his ‘reconnecting people to their food and the land’ initiative. I will always remember this question as he further encouraged us to consider urban farming – ‘What is the opposite of death?’ Many of the listeners replied ‘life.’ But Nuri replied, ‘It is birth.’ Which is essentially what you do every time you practice positive alternatives, such as urban farming.”

If you’re planting a garden in the zone this spring, we’d love to hear from you. What are you planting? Are you an experienced gardener or a first-timer? Share your gardening photos and tips with us and we’ll put the best ones on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/greenimpactzone.