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Volunteers turn Kensington lot green - Community uses paint to turn eyesore into neighborhood work of art

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A rusted gate protecting a vacant Kensington lot recently received a ‘green’ makeover, courtesy of a newly formed local civic group.

Members of the West Kensington Action Group’s descended on 31-35 Church Avenue, a longstanding eyesore between Chester Avenue and Story Street, wielding paintbrushes and good intentions.

According to civic group coordinator Maggie Tobin, dozens of people dropped by on October 4, “to lend a hand and paint a flower or two.”

“The day provided a wonderful opportunity to meet other people in the neighborhood also concerned about the future of Church Avenue,” she said.

Support for the event came by way of local retailers like Foodtown, Shannon Florist and Nursery, Dahill Halal Pizza, and Paint’s by George.

The group hopes that the event sends the message to local politicians that west Kensington “must no longer be ignored,” Tobin added.

For years, those living near the lot have complained about the litter and vermin it has generated. The lot’s owner, listed on city records as an entity known as 31 Church Avenue Realty LLC, has received summonses, but little improvement has come to the property, organizers said.

The 28,275 square foot lot is for sale, and listed as “the largest development site in Borough Park. The asking price is $6.5 million.

Event organizers said the mural poses the question, ‘what if?’

The painting represents an “idealized version of the lot with the abandoned buildings transformed into an community center and a cafe; the surrounding gardens bursting with flowers,” Tobin said.

On the far end of the mural is a statement: “Dear neighbors, this mural represents a dream of what our neighborhood could be if we came together as a community and turned this lot into a green vibrant part of a thriving Kensington. 31-35 Church Avenue has been neglected by its owners for years. We have tried to enlist the help of our city officials to no avail. The time has come to take back our neighborhood but we need your help!”

—Gary Buiso

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