The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 6, 2012

Groups’ plans bloom for West End lot

Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

— A new garden will soon grow in Johnstown’s West End.

In the upcoming weeks, members of the West End Improvement Group and Liberty Grace Brethren Church hope to begin converting a rundown parking lot, located on the corner of Laurel Avenue and D Street, into a space filled with vegetables, flowers and trees for the community to enjoy.

Volunteers will spread organic mulch over the asphalt and gravel. An overall design is expected to be created during the winter.

Then, in the spring, the organizations plan to build raised growing beds and plant crops.

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Marie Mock, the improvement group’s secretary/treasurer.

Along with beautifying a blighted spot, the garden is expected to provide food for those in need. Nearby residents who work on the project will receive a part of the harvest.

The rest of the food will go to local food pantries and community kitchens.

“We’ve got to help ourselves,” said West End Improvement Group Vice President Rose Howarth. “Why not do it? Our grandparents grew up doing this through the Depression.”

The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to philanthropy, already has contributed $2,000 to the project.

A former West End resident and local businesses have made donations. Johnstown Wire Technologies, owner of the land, is providing the parking lot space.

“We’ve got a lot of people involved, and that’s a good thing,” said CFA President and Executive Director Mike Kane.

Organizers plan to apply for a grant from the Alternative Community Resource Program, which is involved in a project to plant gardens throughout the city.

Anybody interested in contributing money or time can call Mock at 539-0181 or Howarth at 535-2499.

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