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Group Aims to Beautify Broad

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The group is different from most civic-inspired organizations. It comprises residents, business owners, city officials and members of other neighborhood associations such as the Fan District Association, the West Avenue association and the West Grace Street association. Representatives of the Science Museum of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University also are active in the group.

Its goal is simple: to make Broad Street from Belvidere to the Boulevard a brighter and better place to be.

"It's kind of cool because we only have one officer and that's a treasurer. And we don't have any money," says 3-B member Turk Sties. The group meets monthly at places like the Science Museum and Firehouse Theater.

Recently, the group held a cleanup day and hauled away tons of trash and debris. It also has identified more than 25 empty tree-wells and hopes to fill them with saplings. The group plans to raise part of the money and ask the city for the rest.

The 3-B association also is encouraging businesses like Arby's, Hardee's, and McDonald's to keep their sites trash-free and well-lighted, says 2nd District City Councilman Bill Pantele, a member of the group. Pantele says the group's efforts already have paid off. He points out the 7-Eleven convenience store at the corner of Meadow and Broad streets as an example. "It's always been kind of an eyesore," he says. But since the 3-B group has put pressure on businesses to keep their lots clean, 7-Eleven has spruced up its lot, says Pantele.

What's more, the 3-B team along with the West Grace Street association has proposed a park at Allen and Broad streets. The extended median has long been a notorious prostitute hangout. Just last year the city had signs there warning them that police were on the watch. Pantele says the group has raised $20,000 for the park.

"We've taken this area for granted as being run-down," Pantele says. "But we can tackle it a bit at a time. It's got real potential."

— Brandon Walters

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