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lFt. Wayne, Indiana: Sometimes Community Gardens Don't WorkOut....

  • Subject: [cg] lFt. Wayne, Indiana: Sometimes Community Gardens Don't WorkOut....
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 19:02:47 -0400


Sometimes when community gardens are started from "the top down," they fail
when "Mom," or "Dad," isn't intimately involved - this from the
A good idea, recycled
Glenn Voris hopes the community appreciates a new park more than his neglected
community garden
By Cindy Larson clarson@news-sentinel.com

Voris puts the final touches on a plaque honoring the late bMiss Virginiab
Schrantz, who helped care for the homeless and needy.

Photos by Steve Linsenmayer of The News-Sentinel
Glenn Voris, left, is giving up on his neglected community garden project at
1424 E. Creighton Ave. in favor of a park in honor of the late bMiss
Virginiab Schrantz, who ran a mission house in the neighborhood. Garden
founder and caretaker Voris and volunteer Randall Conliff stand near a
vandalized sundial.

Glenn Voris is about to spit in the eye of failure, sucker-punch defeat, and
defy bitterness.
The man who created a community garden on Creighton Avenue, only to see it
grow into a forlorn-looking, overgrown weed patch, is starting over again.
Plans this time call for a low-maintenance, grassy park-like setting on three
lots he owns in the 1400 block of Creighton Avenue.
Voris sowed the seeds of Atlas Community Gardens in 2001, when he converted
the property to a community garden, complete with raised beds. The idea was to
provide space for area residents to grow their own vegetables. bI thought,
bBoy, that will be the most beautiful thing in the world,bb he said.
The community threw its support behind Voris, with several foundations
donating money to the cause. A cookout in the spring of 2001 attracted dozens
of neighbors. bOur garden that year just took off with all this
enthusiasm,b he said.
But Voris, who lives in North Manchester and is an avid gardener, found
himself at the community gardens from morning to evening about six days a week
during the summer. Finally, people started telling him to let the community
take care of its garden. Thatbs when the problems started.
bI overestimated peoplebs interest in gardening,b he said.
Once he relinquished control, the property started going downhill. People
would help themselves to ripe tomatoes, and someone even stole the sundial in
the center of the garden.
bIt just went from bad to worse,b Voris said.
Today he finds it an embarrassment. bItbs a jungle. (Neighborhood Code) is
all over me like a wet blanket.b
But hebs not bitter, and he doesnbt blame anybody but himself. bI feel
Ibm the one thatbs failed them all,b he said, referring to neighbors,
city officials and the foundations that gave money for the community garden.
This spring he sent out letters to all the original gardeners establishing a
clean up date, bbut no one showed up.b
But with the announcement earlier this summer that the city was undertaking a
massive urban renewal effort in the Hanna-Creighton area, Voris got motivated
to try a new approach .
bIbve got the biggest eyesore in the world,b he said b but not for
He plans to enlist the help of a contractor to excavate the raised beds, level
the ground and turn it into a small green space. He would like to use crews
from Community Corrections to keep it mowed.
Voris plans to name the park in honor of the late Virginia bMiss Virginiab
Schrantz, who operated a mission house nearby that provided food, shelter and
other care for the needy.
A plaque bearing a portrait of Miss Virginia will be mounted near an entrance
to the park.
Asked how he felt about the community abandoning the gardens, Voris said, bI
guess it broke my heart.b But he was quick to add, bIbm not whining. All
Ibm going to do is change the course, and webll still have something nice
for the community.b
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