June 28, 2013
Rockford Volunteers Work Hard to “Save Blaisdell Street”
By Brian Leaf, Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — For four days volunteers with Project 1013, also known as Saving Blaisdell Street, fought rain, heat, poison ivy and fear of snakes as they chopped, cut, raked and painted their way up and down five blocks of Rockford’s poorest neighborhood.
“It’s fun to be with other people and show them God’s love,” said Martina Berger, 14, who was one of 65 volunteers from church and community groups at work Thursday.
This is the third year that neighborhood resident James Devoe has spearheaded mission work along Blaisdell. Members from Devoe’s house of worship, Rock Church, 6732 Harrison Avenue, were joined by neighborhood residents, the West Gate Coalition neighborhood watch group, the Rockford Housing Authority, New Zion Baptist Church and Lighthouse Christian Church from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Project 10:13 is a reference to the verse from the Gospel of Matthew: “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it. If it is not, let your peace return to you.”
“We come in here and we’re cleaning up the neighborhood, cleaning up the alleys, helping neighborhood residents with their homes, trying to beautify the place,” Devoe said.
This year the group discovered a rogue dump of 70 tires in a backyard near the alley. Devoe said the tires will be recycled when they are removed.
More than half of residents in the neighborhood – bounded on the north by Auburn Street, the south by West State Street, North Johnston Avenue on the west and North Avon, Blaisdell and Furman streets on the east – had incomes below federal poverty guidelines, according to data from ourvitalsigns.org. Per capita income in the neighborhood in 2010 averaged $8,968, compared with $24,331 for Winnebago and Boone counties.
Devoe said he hopes improvements this week on Blaisdell between Central and Avon streets will affect people living in the neighborhood.
“We want to bring some pride and hope back,” he said.
©2019 Houses of Hope dba Project 1013. All rights reserved.