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Year established: 1996
Local Leader: Sister Patricia Kerz
Community Group: 2100 South Central Park Block Club and Blessed Sacrament Improvement Committee
NeighborSpace Partnership: October 2, 2002
2100 South Central Park Block Club Garden went from a vacant lot that was used for abandoned cars and garbage to an urban oasis. Some concerned neighbors wanted to rid the area of what was a real “eye sore.” They, their children and others in the community worked to transform the land. It now showcases flowers, plum, apple and juniper trees and an area dedicated to the memory of war veterans. The garden has provided the community with a place for solace. Over the years, they’ve gotten help from various volunteer groups – among them, college kids and the North Lawndale Group (of high school students) have provided their strength, energy and enthusiasm in the Fall clean-up and with other garden activities.
In Sister Patricia’s words: Sister Patricia says the garden is a “blessing on the block. It’s a beauty spot.” She has been gratified by the unexpected nice comments from people. She has also been surprised by the wild canaries that come to the garden and the one-time visit by a red fox. Sister didn’t expect the garden to be a “wildlife refuge!”
Best practice idea: Sister Patricia cautions people to learn more about how and what to plant when getting started because having that information will be very helpful to the process. She also suggested that making a site more “park like” might be more inviting for people to come and sit and simply enjoy their surroundings.