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Living Memorial Trail (Bronx)
Type of Memorial: Traffic strip, greenway
Address: Lafayette Ave. between Longfellow and Edgewater Rd.
State: New York
Country: United States
Open to Public: Yes
Description: Purpose: According to Greening for Breathing Coordinator Elena Conte, the project is "to create spaces to come together in the Hunts Point community." The mission of Greening for Breathing is to promote urban ecology in response to asthma, as well as broader environmental health concerns. The memorial trail specifically deals with memorialization, healing, and the social processes of coming together. "Part of the reason why I'm so excited about this project is that it gets at all of the intangible things, the emotions. This will create more of a space than any other project we have done to connect with those emotions," said Conte.
Reason site was selected: Greening for Breathing authored a community forestry plan to create linkages between residential areas and green spaces as well as planting buffers between pollution sources and residential areas. This area of four blocks is a link between the major residential area and the existing Hunts Point Riverside Park and the South Bronx Greenway along the water that is being created. Currently, it is not a very accessible for pedestrians due to heavy truck traffic, a large hill, a lack of streetscaping, and a lack of safe street crossing. Greening for Breathing sees this as a way to begin improving the blocks and focusing community energy and attention. By turning four blocks into something spectacular all at once, it should make a large visual, physical, and emotional impact.
Events planned for site: The project will be entirely planned, designed, implemented, and created by community stewards working with Greening for Breathing. Formal events have not yet been planned, but Conte notes that this community approach will "make an area for one big block party." The organization has already successfully held events like Tree Day that focus on youth, with both educational and entertaining activities related to health and the environment.
Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?: "Sacred has different meanings to different people," said Conte. "By virtue of the process in this project, that feeling of sacredness should occur. It's going to look really spectacular in comparison to everything else that's around," she said. She also added that having deep involvement from stewardship groups in terms of determining what the memorial trail will look like or what it's message will be should be a healing process, and one that "people can relate to."
Web Site: www.ssbx.org