Lisa Maiello, a graduate of the 2010 pilot CPI course, is the president of South Kensington Community Partners, a community based nonprofit organization. The SKCP has recently completed an action plan that resulted in a restructuring of the board and committees as well as a name change. The new committee procedures have allowed them to grow the committees, build trust within the community and handle what is now a startling demand.
The organization’s goal is to “connect our community to resources and opportunities, the land, and each other.” Referring to the SKCP and the CPI classes, Lisa says the “information and examples of neighborhood planning is something of great interest and will become increasingly useful as we move forward.”
Since Natania has graduated from the Fall 2011 CPI class, she has become the Director of Programs for the SKCP. To meet her course project requirement, Natania developed an “action plan” that proposed creating a fence out of recycled materials to properly secure and prevent misuse of vacant land.
The SKCP has been heavily involved with a vacant land management program that was the recipient of a community land care contract in the Spring of 2013. This project includes a detailed surveying and mapping of the neighborhood in order to construct a database of its vacant land. Many of the pocket parks (Benson Park, Hart Park and playground) are being surveyed in order to best renovate them along with efforts in supporting numerous longtime community gardens.
Understanding that green corridors, space, and trees are a very important part of creating a clean and friendly environment within a community, Lisa, Natania, and the SKCP have been inventorying and mapping the locations of existing trees in South Kensington. This project, called TreeSKape, helps locate areas where trees are needed in order to improve rainwater permeation, creates continuity within the landscape, and helps provide shade in order to reduce energy usage. Also provided is a gathering of the community for events to plant trees in necessary areas. Lisa states that TreeSKape’s goals are to “assist in the coordination, establishment, and maintenance of a thoughtfully planned, neighborhood-scaled urban forest with maximum eco, health, aesthetic, and educational benefits.”