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Palmetto Park, FL: Commitment Grows in Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Palmetto Park, FL: Commitment Grows in Community Garden
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 20:01:57 -0500

Commitment grows in community garden
The Palmetto Park garden began four years ago with a grant. Now the project is
being expanded and refurbished.
PAUL SWIDER
Published January 29, 2006



From a simple garden, Palmetto Park is working to grow - and feed - its
community.
"We're having some revival in the area because a lot of people are involved in
it," Lurlis Simmons, Palmetto Park Neighborhood Association president, said of
the group's community garden at 2519 Third Ave. S.
The neighborhood started the garden four years ago with a grant from Front
Porch. The project's popularity brought growing pains, so the group applied
for and received expansion funding from the city's Neighborhood Partnership
Matching Grant program.
"We're in the process of rebuilding the garden and refurbishing everything in
it," Simmons said. He added that produce from the garden is given to
neighborhood residents who need it.
The group received $8,000 from the city and is matching it with $42,000 worth
of volunteer labor. The grant will pay for a new shed to store equipment, as
well as gardening tools and equipment and some lights for security.
The city requires applicants to at least match whatever money the city puts
into a project, but Palmetto Park's award represented the greatest percentage
contribution of the 12 neighborhood projects splitting $211,000 in grants this
year for nearly half a million dollars in project work.
"This is our first grant for a community garden," said Susie Ajoc with the
city's Neighborhood Partnership program. She said the fact that this project
is more about community involvement than hardware makes it ideal for the
city's 13-year-old grant program. "One of the reasons we have grants is to
encourage participation."
Over the next few months, the Palmetto Park association will roughly double
the amount of land under cultivation at its garden. The enhancements will also
allow the garden to produce crops all year long.
"We get quite a bit out of there now," Simmons said.
The harvest - okra, cabbage, lettuce, turnips, collard greens, tomatoes,
beans, peas and more - feeds about 200 people in the neighborhood who are
elderly, on fixed incomes or otherwise unable to afford fresh vegetables,
Simmons said. The association has begun work on garden improvements now while
the land is fallow, but will discuss more about the project at its next
meeting Feb. 21 at the Regeneration Building, 2301 Third Ave. S.
Simmons said the group gets volunteers of all ages from within the community,
but also has a relationship with Youth Build and Eckerd College to supply even
more help. He said the more people get involved, the more the neighborhood
benefits from the garden's rewards.
"We have a very unique thing going on down there," he said.
After a few weeks' renovation, Simmons said the group will replant in April.
The group rents the lot from the city, but also enjoys help from Home Depot,
Lowe's and Cox Lumber. He said there is much anticipation for the new season.
"It's going to be a whole new process down there," Simmons said. "It will be a
great change."
Meetings
JUNGLE TERRACE CIVIC ASSOCIATION: There will be a neighborhood cleanup Feb. 6
starting at 7 a.m. on the northeast side of Tyrone Boulevard N, from 26th
Avenue N to 40th Avenue N. City crews will pick up large household items. No
hazardous materials will be accepted. For information, call 343-2041.
LAKEWOOD ESTATES NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: A meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at
the St. Petersburg Country Club. Police Chief Chuck Harmon will be the
speaker.
Readers wishing to submit information for the Neighborhood Notebook can
contact Times staff writer Paul Swider either by e-mail at pswider@sptimes.com
or by phone at 892-2271. Neighborhood association presidents who would like to
publish their organization's information directly to the Web on their own
itsyourtimes.com blog should also contact Paul Swider at pswider@sptimes.com
) Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.


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