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'Guerrilla Urbanists' Use Flower Boxes to Fight Bridgeport Blight, Crime

By Casey Cora | June 6, 2014 5:23am
 A secret group is putting flower planters along busy Morgan Street.
A secret group is putting flower planters along busy Morgan Street.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIDGEPORT — A secret group of "guerrilla urbanists" is placing flower-packed planters along Morgan Street in an effort to beautify Bridgeport.

A source said the mystery group will continue polling business owners and landlords to see if they'd like one of handsome planters placed in front of their buildings on the sidewalk. If so, the building owner must agree to care for the planter and the flowers in it.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the project was initiated to combat "the ugliness and the visual and real violence that pops up from time to time" on Morgan between 31st and 35th streets: "The group believes it's time to make an effort at making our streets safer, saner and aesthetically pleasing."

Casey Cora details the efforts to make Bridgeport more appealing:

The project is also a tribute to Carissa Hinz, a barista and artist killed last year in an unsolved hit-and-run crash.

Already, a few of the planters, which are big enough to hold two 5-gallon buckets filled with dirt and flowers, have appeared in the 3200 block of Morgan Street, not far from where a 25-year-old man was killed after being shot in the head on Sunday.

The mysterious Morgan Street campaign is the second effort in recent months to call attention to what some may perceive as a problem of economic neglect in Bridgeport.

Last month, bumper stickers suddenly appeared on Halsted Street businesses. The stickers said "Ugly Ol' Halsted, You've Really Let Yourself Go," an apparent jab at the vacant storefronts.

No group has claimed responsibility for that project, but the planters are a collaboration of artists and carpenters.

Without a permit, the Morgan Street planters could be torn down by the city — municipal code says the city is "authorized to order any item or thing whatsoever which may encumber or obstruct any public way, public landing, wharf or pier to be removed."