Stratford St feels better already
A Blenheim man who has lived in the same house for more than 50 years says he has already noticed a difference in the neighbourhood after the street cleanup project began last week.
Stratford St was the eighth street to undergo a week-long makeover since the initiative began in 2008.
Barry Parker has lived in the same house since his parents moved to Stratford St in 1957, when he was 1.
The cleanup, organised by Safer Communities Marlborough, finished on Wednesday and included removing waste and painting fences.
Organisers of the project also encouraged residents to get to know their neighbours on a first-name basis, something Barry says was common when he was a boy.
"You got to know your neighbour," he says.
"You could leave your doors unlocked because everybody knew everybody."
In the early 1960s, a survey done on Stratford St showed 96 children lived in the street, which had 38 houses.
More children lived in Stratford St than in the whole of Scott St, Barry says.
"They were good times because there wasn't any television."
"Most of the kids would be over at Athletic Park, playing soccer and rugby, or down by the river bank."
Crime on the street hardly existed while he was growing up.
"There wasn't a great deal of kids getting into trouble," he says.
"Police back then would know your parents. They told you to get home, and you listened."
Despite living at the same house for 55 years, Barry was only on first-name basis with four people from his street before the street cleanup project began, he says.
"It really makes me feel a bit sad. New Zealand society has gone like America has; people are too busy worrying about other things."
Since the cleanup began last week, people were already more friendly.
"People who I've never spoken to, I'd see them in the street and just wave as I go past, but now everyone is helping each other."
The group of people who organised the cleanup did a marvellous job, he says.
"I'd rather speak to them than speak to a politician."
Children living on Stratford St also seem to be interacting more with each other.
"The people have come together. I want to see all of New Zealand do this," Barry says.
"Get to know your neighbour and do what you can to help. Too many people just think of themselves."
- The Marlborough Express