Meet Aliaya Blair and Arturo Sosa, two of the lifeguards taking shifts at the New Town pool this summer. They are part of a larger team of lifeguards (in fact, Aliaya and Arturo have an apartment for the summer with two other lifeguards) that may draw assignments at our pool, but also may work shifts at Stone Hill, Green Springs or other area pools.
Aliaya is studying pharmacy in her native Jamaica. She lives in St. Catherine Parish, not far from Kingston. She attends the University of West Indies, where she has three years remaining.
She has been to the US several times before to visit relatives in NY, NJ and OH. When she visits, her favorite thing in the US that is unavailable in Jamaica is Dunkin’ Donuts doughnuts
Arturo is in the US for the first time this summer. He is from the Dominican Republic. He had been in Williamsburg only about two weeks at the time of our interview but he is already liking it. He had also spent time in MD for training. He too mentions food (pizza and Chick Fil-A) as significant attractions of being in the US.
Arturo is studying medicine. He has two and half years left at university, but at 22, it seems likely he will have many years of additional training left to reach his goal of being an MD. While in the US, he plans to get up to New York City to visit an uncle before returning home.
When asked what safety rules they want to emphasize, both Aliaya and Arturo say first, “No running.” Arturo adds, “No diving.” The classics.
Enjoy the pool. Be safe. Share something cold with a lifeguard.
In the heart of New Town, flanking Sullivan Square, are two condominium buildings: The Bennington on the Park and Foundation Square. Each building has its own governance board, and at the heart of those are two residents successfully working to beautify New Town. Barbara Stratton owns and lives at The Bennington while Jim Kavitz is at Foundation Square. They exemplify the willingness to get involved that it takes to keep New Town an exceptional community.
Jim and Barbara
Barbara and Jim did not know each other until Town Management sought the involvement of both in a project to improve the landscaping at the entrances for Courthouse Street and New Town Avenue. This spring, many new plants were added to these entrances, selected for their deer and drought resistance as well as their added color. After this success, Jim (and other active residents including two master gardeners) continued working with Barbara on mutual projects and advocating for the beautification of New Town. Sometimes it is the small things, like sharing tools, advice on hardy plants and commercial sources. Other times, they think bigger about targets of opportunity in common areas like the Spring project at the entrances.
At Foundation Square, the residents have been particularly diligent in using gardening to enhance life there. The Crier did a story in October 2017 about the extensive garden of vegetables, herbs and fruits they maintain for the enjoyment of all New Town children. They have long augmented the basic maintenance funded by the New Town Commercial Association by buying and installing additional plants around the building.
Meanwhile, across the street at the Bennington, the basic landscaping was showing its age and had never been enhanced, but then their fee structure did not include such enhancements. Barbara found support from her board to fund new plants to improve the two entrances at The Bennington. That work has been recently executed. The formal entrance to The Bennington building is beautifully enhanced with the professional landscape design, provided by Coleman Nursery.
New Color Added This Year at the Bennington
Opposite, cascading vines and vivid color set off the entire front of Foundation Square, creating eye appeal for the street-side businesses and the condo residents. Through the addition of literally thousands of plants, the residents have color throughout the year. In the spring time, they even organize their own Daffodil Festival Day. Together, the landscaping color at The Bennington and Foundation Square brilliantly frames Sullivan Square with crepe myrtles and roses in bloom.
Color Across the Foundation Square Front
As an aside, while working on this article, I learned something about the homeowners’ association for both buildings. Condo owners pay fees to the Commercial Association, not NTRA. While the Commercial Association has an agreement with NTRA to allow the condo owners to access the pool and social events, the landscaping at the buildings is not an NTRA function. The landscaping efforts described above are funded as part of their own operations, but contribute to the beautification of all of New Town.
Neighbors making something happen together! Thanks to Barbara and Jim.