Tree Planting Marks a Joining of Community Forces

Avondale resident Adam Webb (pictured above) was just looking for a place where he might plant some vegetables. His inquiry into a vacant lot at the corner of Sycamore Avenue and Magnolia Road in West Ashley turned into something much more.

On Tuesday, Webb was among about 50 people who gathered to celebrate the forthcoming transformation of that empty lot into an urban horticulture center and community garden.

“This illustrates what a community can and should be,” Webb said. “This brings a whole new meaning to a ‘grassroots experience.’”

The Greater Avondale Neighborhood along with the Charleston Parks Conservancy, the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy with the help of the Charleston County Council and the county’s Greenbelt Fund celebrated the closing of the land with a tree planting ceremony. The 3.7-acre plot is currently a vacant, overgrown lot but now has the potential to become a neighborhood park, including Charleston’s first environmentally friendly urban horticultural center. A playground, community vegetable garden and a display garden are also envisioned for the site.

“It’s hugely important for us to bring green space into communities,” said Jim Martin, noting areas with green space and parks are proven to be healthier, have less crime and have higher home values.

The Conservancy worked closely with the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy to apply for the Greenbelt Program money and ultimately turn the land into a piece of property forever protected from large development. Even though the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy is based in Mount Pleasant, its focus has been on preserving undeveloped parcels of land in the greater urban environment.

“Projects like this are what your half-cent sales tax should be used for,” County Councilwoman Colleen Condon told the crowd.

Those attending the event helped plant three live oak trees on the property, a symbol of the relationship among the Parks Conservancy, the community and the municipalities.

The trees may seem small, Martin said, but in 25 years they will be phenomenal. Just like this project.

Stay connected with us for more on this project and the next steps, which includes involving the community in the master plan for the property.

(Pictured below Jim Martin, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Bottom: Skip Condon of Triangle Char & Bar, which hosted the ceremony after party, and John Girault, executive director of the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy.)

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