|Before and After|
While various options for the park remain open (in previous posts we discussed a fenced in dog park), in the interim, a team of volunteers decided last year to start the process of turning the property around by installing a large garden on one corner. For just $200, using garden cast-off plants donated by neighbors and mulch from cut-down, unhealthy, storm-battered trees formerly used to screen the old substation, it started to resemble a park.
A hot summer wiped out a few of the transplanted shrubs and flowers, but thanks to an on-site water supply and diligent work by volunteers, most of the garden made it through the first year. And fortunately, a team of a dozen or so Alexandria parole officers and one air quality specialist volunteered their time during Spring for Alexandria to recover the garden out from under a truckload of weeds. The team even managed to plant a small donated maple tree, which will hopefully be the first of numerous trees taking root. View a slide show of the volunteer clean-up day below (NOTE: if you're reading this as email, you may need to click the link to the article to see the slide show):
Throughout the clean-up visitors and onlookers made several commitments to the park. Parks staff, seeing the derelict state of the remaining evergreen trees, said the City would remove the rest...and mow the site more regularly since the garden is being hidden behind an 18" wall of grass and weeds. The outgoing City Manager and his interim replacement said they would find a little money in the budget to come up with a landscaping plan. I guarantee that would not have happened if neighbors hadn't devoted time and energy trying to make something of the site. The City sees and appreciates the effort and wants to leverage the volunteer support with a little funding.
|View of former electrical sub-station that became the park.|
So thank you, Spring for Alexandria team. With your help, we'll make a park of this otherwise unplanned site, yet!