Trash on the streets--whether through illegal dumping, litter, or just general wind-borne mess--negatively impacts residents’ and visitors’ mental health and impression of their neighborhoods. Trash is often identified as a major community problem--and at the same time there are individual community members and blocks who work hard to beautify and clean the streets and public spaces around their homes--often without notice or thanks.

The Southwest Partnership Clean Block Competition aims to find the Best Block in the West by organizing blocks of community members in a month long competition to keep their blocks clean and beautiful and engage their neighbors in community maintenance.

Program Description

The Clean Block Competition is an annual month-long competition. Blocks are judged by random visits each week from our competition judges which include SWP staff and community members not participating in that year’s competition and are scored on how clean they are (no litter!), how beautiful they are (public art, greening), and how many volunteers have been engaged in the project.

Blocks can win a range of prizes from a block party (social distancing permitting) to planters to gift cards to continue improving their blocks.

In past years blocks have engaged over 30 volunteers per week in community clean ups, installed community art including painted benches and planters and curb art, and developed lasting relationships and a block culture of mutual community care.

Congratulations to the 2020 Winners

  • Best Block in the West: 1700 Cole St
  • Cleanest Block: 1300 McHenry
  • Most Beautiful Block: 300 S Woodyear
  • Most Engaged Block: 400 S Calhoun St
  • Most Improved Block: Unit N Calhoun

2019 Best Block in the West: 300 S Woodyear

For more information, and to be included on the registration announcement when the Clean Block Competition reopens please email Elizabeth at Any block in the Southwest Partnership area can sign up, and we will provide cleaning supplies and tools for the block to use as well as training and support in social media and community engagement to bring out the volunteers!

One neighbor from the latest competition reports “I am truly grateful and blessed to be in a city and community that also shows us love for loving where we live and how much we love and appreciate our community. To all the 1300 block of McHenry thanks to all for what we do.”

To give images from past competitions check out the hashtags #bestblockinthewest and #bestblockinthewest2020 on social media (Facebook and Instagram

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