With the first land-based projects in the neighborhood in years, Canfield Consortium hopes to beautify their neighborhood and create a renewed sense of community.
Volunteer + Professional
April 2018 to July 2018
Volunteer + Professional
Volunteers, corporations and churches, United Way, Americorps, neighborhood residents, family and friends
Party LotDumping Preventer
4401 + 4409 Montclair St
We had to cut down overgrown weeds, there was a lot of trash and debris removal. We had to take a fence down. Cutting the grass, removing sod to prepare the beds. Then we had to source the plants from a number of different locations. There was a lot of cement we had to remove from the soil, but there is a walkway adjacent to the alley that we hadn’t planned on, so we had to adapt our dumping preventer once that was discovered.
We used the combination of the party lot and dumping preventer. The reason of course for the dumping preventer is to prevent people from dumping trash on the lot, but the party lot design was chosen to make the lot a community area that was inviting, where we can have community functions.
We bought the lot from the DLBA. We initially talked to the our district manager, and shared our plans with him. He liked our plans and then introduced us to the land bank, from there it went pretty well.
I grew up gardening with my parents, but sod removal – I had never done that. I’ve pruned, but I learned the finer art of pruning. I learned how to use a saw, that is work! I got very proficient with the loppers, cutting down branches. I also learned about the fortitude of the community, people are very passionate and very supportive. I also got my first bee sting, so I learned how to deal with that.
We had community group meetings telling people about the lot development, asking them to spread the word. First monthly, then biweekly, to keep the momentum going, and to get more people invited and involved. We created flyers to let them know dates, but then with all the bad weather… and we had to do things on the fly. During site prep, a closer neighbor who hadn’t been engaged yet was so willing to help with some power tools and provide electricity. Neighbors often want to get involved but sometimes they only look out the window and just look, but don’t come out and ask, they want to be invited.
We didn’t do any additional any fundraising, but I spent some money out of my own pocket. It is important to network and talk about what is going on, I was able to get so much help and support not even knowing I was networking, just by sharing what was going on. I knew what was going on in my immediate circle but as I started networking I got in touch with other people, managers and community people, a lot of time you get a lot of fruit from that. People really do care; some people think that the people in the community are the reason why the community is the way it is.
The biggest three challenges were the delays and prep day cancellations caused by the weather, the amount of work removing the debris and trash, and the removal of the weed trees since the task because much more difficult once they leafed-out.
A lot of maintenance will come through community networking; a friend got a guy who will cut the grass for us for free. We have community people that will come to help pull weeds. Down the road when we expand we would love to have a maintenance caretaker. We have people who know how to help that are committed, and we have people who know how to prune.
We will need a garden wagon, some tools, pruners, rakes so that we will have them for the people that are going to help. Some sturdy garden gloves. We want to have Canfield Community garden tools that we can store in the garage.
In the first season we manually watered, my nephew and I filled up a recycling container, wheeled it over to the garden and then use buckets to draw water from there to the plants.