Roots Planted In Newhallville

Picking. Digging. Watering. People from Newhall and Division Streets have been planting shrubs, trees and flowers throughout their neighborhood for years. This week they planted a tree in front of Macedonia Church of God in Christ.

“This is hard dirt,” said Daniel Rivera as he picked the dirt apart with a large metal tool. “We’ve done this before; this is the hardest ground.”

Rivera was leading his weekly Tuesday evening neighborhood planting, in another pocket of Newhallville where homeowners and renters have been working on a neighborhood revival.

The not-for-profit Urban Resources Initiative provides Rivera and his neighbors with tools and plants to help the volunteers continue their efforts, said Sumana Serchan a URI intern and student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The “Newhall and Division” community planting project is one of about 50 throughout the city, Serchan said. Projects like these help neighbors get to know one another, rehabilitate the neighborhood’s environment and encourage neighbors to take care of their property.

This particular five-person group has been planting all types of flowers, shrubs and plants in their neighborhood once a week for the last four or five years, said Rivera.

Rivera also got his 12-year-old son Alex involved in planting. “It’s really fun,” Alex said. He is currently the youngest volunteer in the group, Serchan said.

“Kids really love getting to the earth,” Serchan said.

After the group created a small hole in a grassy opening in the sidewalk, where a tree once stood, Lester Gooding, a deacon of the church, wondered if the tree was going to fit.

“I don’t know if you’re going to make it in that hole,” Gooding said.

As Keith Young, a volunteer picked up the tree to put it in the hole, Serchan warned him.

“Be careful, Keith,” she said.

“Um, I work for a moving company, so …” he responded.

Gooding, the deacon of the church, said he was happy the group was planting the tree, but that he was no gardening expert.

“A tree is a tree to me,” he said.

Stacy Davis PhotoPrevious stories about Newhallville’s turnaround efforts:

Brick By Brick, Winchester Vision Takes Shape
Gardeners Prevail; Vacant-Lot Challenge Remains
After Crash, Neighbors Seek Fix For Blind Corner
Newhallville Confronts A Mega-Landlord
Newhallville Bounces Back; House Will Get Built
Levin To Newhallville: “We’ll Be Back”
Newhallville Up For “Historic” Boost
Cops Make Arrest In 83-Year-Old Prof’s Mugging
Harp Probes The Newhallville Conundrum
“Let There Be Light” (Emitting Diodes)!
“Serenity” Takes Root On Shepard Street
Bird Garden Fights Blight
Yale Flees Newhallville After Prof’s Mugging

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posted by: HhE on July 12, 2013  8:43am

Fantastic.  Well done.  Thank you.

posted by: goatvilleresident on July 12, 2013  9:41am

We have a couple of groups in Goatville as well. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank URI and their dedicated interns for their hard work, and for providing us with plants and an opportunity to meet our neighbors. URI really contributes to the improvement of our Quality of Life in the City. Way to go!

posted by: Curious on July 12, 2013  10:32am

This is great, URI is a real asset.  Sumana is great too!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 12, 2013  10:43am

Bravo guys!!

posted by: Mike Slattery on July 12, 2013  1:12pm

Nice job!  All smiles, no boo-boos, new tree.  Can’t get better than that.

posted by: HhE on July 12, 2013  1:56pm

Mike Slattery, just wait.  There are people in Newhallville that belive we ought to cut down trees instead.  Their reasoning is that trees block street lights, and that in turn helps the gangsters.  While I understand that reasoning, and I am sympathic to their goal, I think it is unsound.  Trees are a wonderful anti blight measure, and that is a powerful weapon against crime.

posted by: P Christopher Ozyck on July 12, 2013  9:45pm

Hhe - the city / ui upgraded lights which raised the height and cast a narrower lumen footprint.  This was to reduce light polution and save energy.  The trees by these lights where groomed over the past decades for the previous lights.  Tree pruning was not part of the upgrade.  Parks has been trying to catch up.  The big step forward will be transitioning all these light to LED so they will be near impossible to shoot out.

posted by: HhE on July 13, 2013  11:59am

Thank you P Christopher Ozyck for the information, and for all your hard work.