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February 23, 2011

First Signs of Spring?

Hard to believe, we almost hit 60 degrees in Cleveland on February 18. But if you're like some folks, you don't need suntan weather to get out and start moving.

On Sunday, February 13, I joined a group of people affiliated with the Friends of Big Creek and the Cleveland Zoo to take part in a Porcelain Berry Snap at Brookside Park. Our goal was to help remove some invasive vines that are choking back trees along the eastern portion of the park. It was a lot of work to tug, snap, pull and cut, but more than 30 people joined in on the fun, including some local retirees and students from James Ford Rhodes High School. A special thanks to Dennis Petro and the crew that provided the hotdogs, hot chocolate and chili.

The Orchard in Brooklyn Centre

Once again, I have witnessed the power of neighbors helping neighbors.

If you haven't seen the latest ReImagining Cleveland brochure, you'll want to check out the orchard that's been getting a lot of attention lately.

It all began with an abandoned lot and folks who were tired of looking at an eyesore. So they applied for a neighborhood grant and created a community orchard just like that.

Credit goes to Cleveland residents Johanna and Darren Hamm, who had the vision to see it to fruition. Johanna took the time to do her research, then applied for a grant through Neighborhood Connections. Darren (a Case alum) rallied nearby neighbors, talked it up at community meetings and encouraged people to watch the plan unfold.

Little by little, neighbors started coming out on weekends, pulling up grass, churning up dirt, and laying down stone for the walkway. That’s when I heard about the grant and wanted to get involved.

I stopped by on a Saturday and got a chance to plant a few of the 47 apple trees, plus blackberry and raspberry bushes too. Two days later, we celebrated our inaugural summer solstice and neighbors continued to work the lot. By the time school rolled around, we were able to rally 30 members from Case Western Reserve's Delta Tau Delta fraternity. They came out to the site, cleared a section of dirt for the trellis, and dug the holes for the fence posts.

The ribbon cutting was held in October, but that's just the beginning. Meetings will be happening soon, so once the snow thaws, stay tuned.

Posted by mcd34 at February 23, 2011 09:35 PM

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