The City of Texarkana, Texas in partnership with the Housing Authority of Texarkana, Texas (HATT), Rosehill Neighborhood Improvement Association and Believe in Beverly Neighborhood Association, recently completed the installation of a new community garden and upgrades to an existing community garden. These projects were part of the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan, and HATT provided the lot for the new community garden in Rosehill located at the corner of Milam and W. 13th Street. Volunteers from both neighborhood associations came together working hard to complete these gardens for the communities. “These dedicated community volunteers were not only instrumental in completing these community gardens but have continuously volunteered their time for revitalization in our community” stated Kristi Kendrick, President of the Believe in Beverly Neighborhood Association.
The new garden consists of eleven (11) raised garden boxes and eight (8) elevated garden boxes, three (3) picnic tables, and a water tank to catch rainwater. Apple and fig trees were planted as well as blueberry bushes, with flowers planned for Spring planting. At the Beverly Community Garden, additional raised beds were installed, fresh soil brought in for all beds, a new top installed on the rainwater tank, fig trees were planted as well as blueberries and raspberries. A “Little Library” was installed at both community gardens as well as a new sign.
The community gardens are open to anyone in the community who would like to grow their own vegetables, flowers, or herbs and everyone is encouraged to utilize the spaces. The “Little Libraries” are designed with a take one – leave one concept. All ages are encouraged to utilize the community gardens and little libraries. “This is an avenue to build community, spark creativity, and inspire our youth”, stated Rhonda Dolberry, President of Rosehill Neighborhood Improvement Association.
“Enough cannot be said of how wonderful it was to have really great volunteers from organizations like Phi Lambda Chi National Fraternity, The Scholars and also individuals that want to see these neighborhoods continue to improve,” stated Vashil Fernandez, Community Development Specialist for the City of Texarkana, Texas. “This is a great start towards phase one of the neighborhood stabilization, which is to improve community engagement in the planning and implementation of various strategies for development.”