The City of La Porte and the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership (LEAP) have been working to revamp the downtown district and have partnered with the La Porte County Family YMCA to make it happen. Recently, local businesses began making improvements and investing in their property, so it only made sense for the YMCA and LEAP to get out and start beautifying the city with the help of the community.
Groups headed out from the 618 Plaza to surrounding blocks to paint, pick up trash, sweep, rake, pull weeds, and clean up alleyways. Over 175 volunteers signed up for the weekend of service, and there’s still time to sign up and help out tomorrow morning! Shannon Walker, Executive Director of Association Advancement at the YMCA, is excited about the community response to the event and thankful for all of the donations of food and tools to make the service days happen.
“The YMCA has been working with LEAP for a lot of different projects, and one of the [YMCA of the USA] initiatives is Togetherhood projects—community service based projects—and the La Porte County YMCA hasn’t really done that on an organized basis,” Walker said. “We thought it would be great to work with LEAP and Downtown La Porte to do something small and simple, and I love seeing a lot of young people out here learning about giving back to their city.”
The Downtown Director of La Porte, Angela Rose, was most excited to get the kids involved and give them some ownership of their community. The kids had the opportunity to paint positive notes and drawings on rocks that are going into a rock bed on the corner of Monroe and Lincolnway.
“I know growing up you feel like the adults get to make all of the decisions and you don’t have any say in what goes on in the community, and this sort of gives them an outlet to be heard,” Rose said. “I’m really excited that we were able to pull this off and get everybody to come together, and it’s so great to see La Porte coming together again.”
Beth Shrader, Director of Community Development and Planning for the City of La Porte, has seen that there’s momentum in downtown with grants that have come from Urban Enterprise Association to do facade work and building turnovers to enhance the downtown area. Along with some new owners, businesses and property owners are also investing in their properties and that’s been a good force of motivation for the community to get out and have a part in making La Porte proud.
“The downtown area needs some TLC from everyone, and this is a great time to get people downtown to invest their time and feel like they’re a part of the rebirth that’s going on here,” Shrader said. “I love getting away from my desk and I love planting, so this is a fun occasion and it’s going to look beautiful when we’re done.”
La Porte County Family YMCA CEO Laurie Halaska loved having the opportunity to get out and help the community that has helped the Y for so many years. Seeing local businesses and community come together is always something to be thankful for.
“The Y is built on volunteers and this is our way to give back to the communities we’re in,” Halaska said. “Instead of us asking for volunteers for our own purpose, we’re giving back to the community and it’s our pleasure to get out here and help the people we serve.”
Afraid you missed out? Well, the great news is that you didn’t! You can still sign up for tomorrow morning’s volunteer hours from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Click here to sign up to volunteer!