Image courtesy of City of Wilmington

Back to its roots! A new downtown garden has just opened in downtown Wilmington to replace the original community garden that was displaced due to a fire. With this new garden, residents will be able to grow their own food and live a healthier lifestyle. But that’s not all, the Kiwanis Club of Delaware will be utilizing plots owned by the Salvation Army to teach children and senior citizens about “Milk Crate Gardens.” There is something for all ages in this new development that will not only promote a healthier lifestyle for the residents that utilize it but will also foster a sense of community for those that will be sharing the experience of having their own gardening plots at the location.

Summarized from the full article at www.wilmingtonde.gov

The History

The former Gross Lighting Center was in business at the Orange Street site for more than a century before it was heavily damaged by fire in August of 2013 and was eventually demolished. The City obtained the property earlier this year, and with the assistance of former property owner Phil Gross and the Downtown Civic Association, it was jointly decided that the site would be used for an urban garden while the plot remains undeveloped. Ironically, it was another fire around the corner in the 400 block of Market Street that displaced the original Downtown Community Garden.

The Mayor’s Sentiments

Mayor Purzycki said he is pleased that the City and community came together to make this land available for urban gardening. “This partnership has a variety of benefits including transforming an unattractive, vacant lot into small garden plots for people who enjoy gardening in the city,” said Mayor Purzycki. The Mayor said the site is intended for downtown residents who want to grow their own healthy vegetables, foster a sense of community and socialize.

Other Opportunities

The garden partnership also includes the neighboring Salvation Army, which has acquired a few of the plots and is partnering with the Kiwanis Club of Wilmington, Delaware to grow vegetables for the seniors and children served by the agency. Produce will be given to seniors and children along with recipes. Finally, the Salvation Army and Kiwanians are teaching children and seniors about developing “Milk Crate Gardens” so they can have a garden to take home and care for. Hageman noted that where a business once thrived, a new era for Downtown Wilmington will now bloom.

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