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.
Previous 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