City News

Barclay Downs gets spruced up

Barclay Downs residents are partnering with area schools as part of a broadened effort to improve the appearance of the neighborhood and its major traffic corridors.

The homeowners association and Myers Park High School students recently held a cleanup in which about 40 participants distributed pine needles, picked up trash and removed fallen storm debris from the sidewalks and playing fields at Alexander Graham Middle and Selwyn Elementary schools.

The effort was an expansion of last year's inaugural cleanup, where fewer people participated and the activity was limited to picking up trash, association president Hilary Greenberg said.

The association forged the school partnership because much of the property along the neighborhood's main corridors – Runnymede Lane and Colony Road – is owned by the school district, which lacks the staff to handle the litter, Greenberg said.

As an added challenge, Runnymede is a state road that normally would be maintained by prison inmates. However, state law prohibits inmates from working near school sites.

“We're trying to step in as a volunteer group to handle this,” Greenberg said. “Our goal is to make sidewalks safe for kids to walk to and from school. A lot of them are covered in storm debris and overgrowth.”

The association hopes to do more next year, possibly bringing in heavy equipment for more drastic landscaping improvements. In the meantime, Barclay Downs is working to improve communication with city departments, the Charlotte Chamber and other neighborhood groups to address other infrastructure needs such as road repaving.