Alaska Community Revitalizes Neighborhood Park with Support from H&R Block’s Make Every Block Better Grant

November 18, 2022 : H&R Block

H&R Block and Nextdoor have partnered to Make Every Block Better in communities across the United States. Now in its third year, the partnership allows community members to nominate projects that uplift and improve their neighborhood and give people a place to connect. Read below to learn how Make Every Block Better funds made an impact in Anchorage, Alaska and visit the partnership website to learn about the 30 other projects spanning the nation.

Access to nature is vital for cultivating community relaxation and recreation. City parks are key resource that provide these opportunities. They give families and young adults a safe place to play and seniors an accessible location to soak in nature.

But this wasn’t the reality for Wilson Street Park in Anchorage, Alaska. The passage of time had rendered the greenspace uninviting.

The goal: Breathe new life into the park with a community-led renovation project that would revitalize the area and give neighbors a great place to visit and gather as a community, especially after the pandemic.

The project’s largest hurdle was funding. Like many cities, the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department’s resources are extremely limited. H&R Block’s Make Every Block Better program, in partnership with Nextdoor, offered a funding opportunity that provided the glimmer of hope needed to push forward. Ultimately, Wilson Street Park was one of just 11 community projects submitted by neighbors from across the U.S. chosen to receive funding.

Community member and project champion Lindsey Hajduk knew the area locals would greatly benefit from the park’s beautification.

“I want people to see that we care about this park,” she emphasized.

After receiving the grant, dozens of residents, H&R Block volunteers, and Nextdoor team members kickstarted the park’s rehabilitation to bring beauty to the worn and graffitied park. They planted native flowers, painted a shelter, refashioned picnic tables, and spread wood chips under the existing playground to create an area that will foster new memories for the community for years to come. Now, Wilson Street Park is an inviting, open space with joyful playgrounds, a freshly painted shelter, and safe walking paths away from high-traffic roads.

“This project kicked things off and encourages my neighbors and me to continue to do more to make the park a welcoming space for youth and other residents,” said Hajduk. “Having the support of national partners and our local Parks & Rec makes our community feel less alone and more capable of making a positive difference for the neighborhood. We thank H&R Block and Nextdoor for the opportunity to bring some resources and support to our street!”

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