When you hear the word "neighborhood", perhaps you think of the person next door, kids down the road, or the park on the corner. But what about the taco shop you often frequent, the Mediterranean grocery store you pass coming home, or the family-owned mechanic shop you go to for oil changes? Local businesses are a huge part of our communities, bringing character and individuality. They build connections with residents and neighborhoods and are a critical part of the community fabric.
Andrew Winke is a local Charlotte artist hoping to help businesses alongside part of Central Avenue see a piece of their home and feel more connected to the community. He is one of several artists who has joined CharlotteEast's Central Avenue beautification project to improve litter control and develop business and residential collaboration. As part of this initiative, Andrew and his girlfriend have been diligently painting a trash can with 72 flags, highlighting different regions represented by businesses in the area. Andrew said, "Each side of the trash cans represents a different region which can be 'visited' along this section of Central Avenue" Artists' designs, like Andrews, are helping CharlotteEast merge Central Avenue businesses with Eastside communities.
In 2018 CharlotteEast adopted part of Central Avenue through the Adopt-A-City Street program, managed by Keep Charlotte Beautiful. CharlotteEast, a non-profit advocacy board in Charlotte, was approved for a Neighborhood Matching Grant with the desire to do more than clean their part of Central Avenue a few times a year. They created the Central Avenue beautification project, which started with Eastside artists painting trash cans at eight bus shelters down Central Avenue, from Eastway Drive to North Sharon Amity.
In the next phase of the project, artist's designs will be wrapped on signal cable boxes. Once these artistic pieces are completed, community leaders will deliver a letter about Central Avenue beautification and a reminder to continue joining the community in the liter control. The delivery of these letters will also serve as a face-to-face way to connect more with local businesses.
Projects like the Central Avenue beautification initiative help residents create conversation and more of a connection the next time they are at local businesses.
Have an idea that will help better your community? To learn more, visit the
Neighborhood Matching Grant program website for program guidelines. Grant applications are accepted three times yearly, on March 1, June 1, and Sept. 1.