Volunteers clean up neighborhood on Douglas Avenue off Georgetown Street

cgross@herald-leader.comJuly 24, 2014 

Volunteers worked Thursday to clean up neighborhoods not far from the scene of a shooting last month.

Police officers, corrections officers and volunteers took part in the We Care — Love Your Neighborhood campaign organized by Habitat for Humanity. The campaign aims to eliminate gun violence and make Lexington neighborhoods safe.

Twenty-five police recruits, 20 corrections officers and several Habitat volunteers met on Douglas Avenue off Georgetown Street to clean up the exteriors of more than 20 homes.

Rachel Childress, CEO of Lexington Habitat for Humanity, said cleaning out brush and fence rows, trimming trees and picking up trash helped residents in several ways.

Safety in neighborhoods and visibility are the primary focus of the campaign.

"The other really core of what we're doing is building relationships," Childress said.

Shed said Habitat wanted to partner with the police department to show residents that officers care about Lexington neighborhoods.

Police Sgt. Rahsaan Berry said it was important for officers to be visible and gain trust.

"We have a job to do, but we're people too," he said. "We honestly do want to help make those relationships better."

Berry said he lives in the west end of Lexington, so violence and crime in the area affects him at home, too.

This wasn't the first time Habitat has teamed with Lexington officers. As part of the same campaign, volunteers cleaned up Roosevelt Street and built a new fence for a resident.

Berry and Childress said they hoped that creating visibility by cutting down brush around fences also would clear up less tangible problems plaguing some Lexington neighborhoods.

"This neighborhood has very much improved from last year," Berry said. "We'll build better relationships, we'll build better neighborhoods and have a better Lexington."

On June 30, a man was shot in the shin and buttocks outside Shopper's Choice on Georgetown Street, near where the volunteers worked Thursday. Police continue to investigate the case.

Lexy Gross: (859) 231-3335. Twitter: @lexygross.

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