Monday, December 19, 2011

Encuentro 5: Physical space in Boston for cultural, political, and community organizing/programming

E5 is 2,000+ square foot multi-media event room that serves as a venue for cultural and political organizing/programming.

Located on the 5th floor at the UNITE-HERE building in Chinatown, at 33 Harrisson ave. Boston, MA 02111, E5 is conveniently reached by subway, bus, or car.

E5 hosts a range of social, cultural, radical, and political groups from the Boston area who use the resources provided by the space to promote fundamental change, revolution, and education.

Lynn has a multitude of community, social, political, and cultural groups. One of them has already presented a forum on a Lynn Coalition at E5.  How great would it be to federate the many progress-minded groups of Lynn and have monthly or quarterly meetings at a space like E5.  A compaƱero of mine, from Lynn, has told me of a space that a Chilean friend of his owns in Lynn where it may be possible to organize small events.  As soon as I can contact him, as he is quite busy with Occupy Boston, I shall discuss/share this idea with him.

In the meanwhile, there are many groups in Lynn, such as the Highlands Coalition, who already have spaces where they organize and do the good work from.  What I envision is something on a somewhat larger scale, and one that serves multifunctional purposes, that can host larger meetings to bring together a broader cross-section of Lynn's progress-minded folk.  Perhaps an abandoned union hall, school, or church may serve us, as sadly there are many of these buildings in Lynn which stand empty.

The organizers at E5 have been consistently friendly and helpful. I first heard about their venue at a memorial march for Sacco and Vanzetti, earlier this summer, from two Puerto Rican men who were impressed that I had used a Spanish slogan on a sign I held during the march.  E5 is very involved in seeking justice for the immigrant communities of Boston and the world.  As a Lynner, and a descendant of Irish and Italian immigrants, I identify with, stand in solidarity with, and consider myself an ally of the immigrants, both in my community and around the world.  Lynn has the unique demographic of being heavily represented by immigrant and refugee communities from all corners of the world, PR, DR, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Iraq, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ukraine, as well as many other lands, not to mention the older communities of immigrant descendants: Irish, Italians, Jews, Russians, Poles, Greeks.  The list is too large to write here.  By some estimates, Lynn's public schools serve the immigrant children of over 60 national origins, which puts a challenge to the educators, and I salute our teachers and school-workers for attempting, with little assistance from the state, to meet this great challenge of educating and serving our diverse community.

I know I go off topic sometimes, I write like I think.

Lynners unite!  Together we can build a better world out of the ruins of the old.

On a final note:  One of my favorite things to do on a summer night in Lynn is to go to Red Rock park and try to identify as many languages as possible, even to my untrained ear I've identified about 13 different tongues one night.  Truly fascinating to live in such a global city!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Name.

Quick update, homework calls!  The new name  reflects a more refined focus I would like to take with this blog, it may also signal a new beginning...maybe I'll be able to keep updating on a regular basis this time.  I love Lynn, I am Lynn-centric, She has shaped who I am and I will do as much as I can to give back to her.  Renaissance reflects what I believe is happening and has been happening in Lynn for a while now, can't quite figure out the date but maybe some older Lynners who have their ear's to the ground might be able to pin-point the time when Lynners increasingly became concerned with the apathy and drudgery that the city was sinking into, like the recently built high school sinking into the marshy earth. Like the sinking school, there are those amongst our city, the ranks swelling every day, who are building stronger foundations. 
It feels like I discover a new community organization or Community-minded Lynner every month.  The Highlands Coalition, Lynn Happens, East Lynn Association, Friends of Lynn Woods, Friends of Lynn Beach, the growing arts community, Vida Urbana/City Life, and most recently the New Lynn Project.  I hope to aid and abet these groups in their efforts to better our beautiful city.  More people are reflecting upon the causes of crime and poverty and looking for positive efforts to prevent people from becoming victims of either social illness.  Lynners are looking to their spaces, streets, properties and cleaning/improving them, taking renewed pride in them.  I love to drive around the city and see the most humble abode and be able to see the love and care the dwellers have taken in its upkeep.  Even a potted flower on a window sill brings a smile to my heart.
Revolution.  This word has acquired a negative connotation over the years, but I find it to be a very positive idea.  A revolution of the heart, the soul, the mind, an awakening to a new way of viewing the world and our place in it.  This Revolution is sweeping the world, from North Africa, Chile, and to the streets of America.  Nonviolent revolution is always desired and I hope that our open hearts will dull the blades and cool the fiery passions of both the revolutionary and the reactionary.
The Revolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul has created the foundations upon which the Renaissance of Lynn is occurring, and it is the same in many of the other working class communities of Massachusetts: Lawrence, Lowell, Jamaica Plain, Methuen, Haverhill, Worcester, Fall River and many more.

For the city, for the stone-built towers, for the woods, for the ocean, for every stream that flows, every water the cools, for all of the people and all of the creatures.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Building a map for the future of Lynn

I would like for anyone with patience to click on the attached link and skim through it to see what the town of Keene, NH has labored to put together.

Keene, NH Comprehensive Master Plan

In essence the town has planned out a well balanced approach towards improving the character of the city for all of its residents (the fuzzy, feathered, slimy, and scaled ones too!)

I would like to quote from the plan
"A sustainable community is one that is economically, environmentally, and
socially healthy and resilient. It meets challenges through integrated solutions
rather than through fragmented approaches that meet one of those
goals at the expense of the others. And it takes a long-term perspective—
one that's focused on both the present and future, well beyond the next
budget or election cycle"

This connects with me and my visions for the city of Lynn, and the world in general, on a deep level. As we may have lost in our culture, but a facet which has remained in the cultures of indigenous peoples, is the concept of an integrated approach, rather than a fragmentary one. We often hear of many different interests in the city saying they have the solution. Some claim that we need to ease restrictions on small businesses and rezone so as to allow greater economic development. Others want to protect their neighborhoods from multi-unit and lower income housing. Still others want to want to protect the few remaining green spaces in the city (your author included) even if it comes at the complaints of developers claiming to want to create jobs or new tax revenue in the form of new housing.

Why not take a balanced and holistic approach, one that works for all of the citizens and all of the neighborhoods and all of the green spaces? Why not build a plan that will last beyond the next budget or election cycle?

As a very old, urban, slightly decayed city, Lynn has some major hurdles she needs to overcome. There must be plans in place for creating stability and prosperity for all of her citizens of all origins. We must create safe, clean, accessible, affordable neighborhoods with recreation spaces and opportunities for locally owned small businesses while at the same time protecting those who struggle from being priced out of their homes. We must help the hungry, help the homeless, end the cyclical unemployment and underemployment, improve opportunities and equality of opportunity, create unity and solidarity in the city and amongst our neighboring towns. We shall usher in a Lynn renaissance.!
We must, however, avoid previous attempts at dictating from crystal towers and instead work hand in hand with the people of each neighborhood, creating a coalition of community leaders of all interests and desires. The plan must not be a foreign design grafted unwillingly but an organic framework created by the minds and hands of the people who it will effect.

So my fellow Lynners, what are your desires, dreams, wishes, hopes? We should create a committee and begin to survey the citizens of Lynn, the children especially, and discover what the main concerns are, what are the problems, and what are the solutions. We will create a list of desires, a vision of a future Lynn.

And like the mural in the Lynn Library depicts, we shall be guided by our inner angels towards the Eden that was always there, hidden in our dreams, a dream of possible Lynns.

so as not to wax too poetic, Lynners you have only to lose your apathy and your doubts, the future is ours!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On the importance of local agriculture: In defense of the Food Project's lease at Ingalls school

We live in an age of convenience. Most of you reading this can probably purchase food at more than a dozen locations within a ten minute drive or your home. The majority of this food is ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook. Most of us have sacrificed the art of cooking for the convenience of the pre-packaged meal. We as Americans love convenience, saving time and effort, and not having to do math when it comes to cooking. Sadly this has had some detrimental effects on our health with obesity, bad cholesterol, diabetes, chronic heart disease, and other diet related illnesses sky-rocketing in the last 50 year since the advent of processed foods.

All of us have not-so-fond memories of being forced to sit at the dinner table as children until we ate all of our vegetables. The majority of us only like a few vegetables and many of us don't care for them at all, we eat them because we know we should, it's good for our bodies. I'll be the first to admit that I force myself to eat the majority of vegetables that I do, and surprisingly I find as an adult I actually like a lot of things that I found "icky" as a kid. I now love fish, peppers, onions, leeks, salad, squash, pumpkin and many other things I hated or never tried as a child.

But here is the frightening thing. I, now looking back at things, realize that I was of a generation of transition in diet. Being of Irish-Italian descent and a member of the lower middle class I grew up in a household where we ate a diet that most Americans are familiar with: pasta, chicken, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, roasts, beef stew...and as we lived with my grandparents I was spoiled with plenty of junk foods and baked goods. Here is where my memory picks up something, I also remember eating fast food and pizza often. I am by no means saying my mom is bad for letting us eat such foods, she was just part of a growing trend that is now approaching a norm in America, the single mother. She was a nurse and often worked long hours, 6 days a week and as such she was often far too tired to cook for us, my grandmother by the way was a horrible cook and knew it so she refrained from any culinary adventures and my grandfather had cancer since before I was born so he was often too tired to even get out of his rocking chair and walk about the house due to medications and chemo. So this being said I probably ate processed foods (pizza, take-out, fast food, or frozen) more times in a week than I did home-cooked meals. Being a Lynner in a less wealthy part of town (the Highlands) I was actually one of the lucky ones, most of the kids I knew almost always ate fast food or frozen foods.

So I can now only venture to what the diets must be like for most Lynners as we can say without trying to hide anything that most Lynners, including myself when I lived in Lynn, are lower middle class or even below that. In fact, in terms of residents living under the poverty line, I would venture that Lynn is probably one of the poorest cities in MA and probably the poorest on the North Shore. Often times in poorer families the first thing that gets cut is money spent on food, not in quantity but quality. Anyone who has been to the supermarket knows you can buy more macaroni and cheese than you can fish for ten dollars. Anyone who has been to a fast food chain knows the only vegetables on the menu are either onions or potatoes deep-fried in fat.

With this knowledge that income has direct correlations with diet and that diet is intimately linked with health and thus with well-being and happiness why would anyone oppose a source of fresh produce in an urban city with a large population of under-earning families? Not to use the cliche, but in this economy why would anyone oppose a source of jobs, many of which go to youths which are the worst hit by this current recession.

Let me break it down as to why the Food Project in Lynn is easily one of the more important employers. I don't know the exact numbers as I have yet to find a reliable source so until then I will try to be conservative.
The Food Project employs mostly youths for the summer, the time of year when they aren't in school. This does a few things, it keeps these kids off the streets and away from bad influences like gangs, drugs, and alcohol. Someone who spent all day in the sun working in a garden isn't going to be spending all night smashing windows and smoking dope. The youths are also learning during a time period when most kids relish the idea of watching tv, playing video games and going to the beach all day. I would not be surprised if a study were to be done that resulted in finding that kids working with the food project received better grades than kids who don't. Another bonus is that these kids are learning valuable work skills at an age when most kids are lounging around the house on summer break. Did I also mention that these kids, and the other workers of the Food Project, pay taxes too. That's right, while they are out in the sun sweating away their summer days they are paying for your roads, social security, and many other tax-funded items in your city and state. One more perk is that for both the students and the workers this organization is providing vital job and social skills.

Those are just the benefits to the people working for/with the food project. Any time spent reflecting on the issue will reveal that many other benefit directly and indirectly from the Food Project at Ingalls. The consumer greatly benefits in terms of the quality and nutritional value of the food. Fresh food is rotting the minute it is removed from the plant or the soil. A shelf life date is not the date when food starts to break down but rather the date estimated that the food will no longer be pleasing to the taste or safe to consume. It is estimated that most produce degrades significantly in nutritional value from the farm to the table. This doesn't sound so bad when the farm is within a 20 mile radius or like the Ingalls farm, ten minutes away, but most farms are not that close. In fact, most of our produce isn't even on the same side of the Mississippi river as we are. It only takes a few minutes of shopping in your local supermarket to read labels in the produce department. I can make you a serious bet that even in fall (our harvest season in the northeast) 90 percent of all the produce will be from points more than a hundred miles away, in fact most of it will be from either California, Mexico, and countries in South America. This being said, a good portion of the fresh produce you eat is not so fresh, but if you buy from your local farmer's market (the Food Project's included) you can be sure that even if their produce isn't as pretty it's a whole lot more nutritional and tastier. If you know anyone that grows heirloom tomatoes like many Lynners do, wait til fall and ask for a bite and compare.

These points alone are enough that any rational person considering them would side with the farm and indeed maybe even champion for more CSA's in their city.

So why not add some more icing to the cake, shall we?

In addition to adding jobs to the local economy, nutritional, fresh, and affordable food to dinner tables all across the socio-economic spectrum in the city, what else does such a farm as that at the Ingalls school do?

This one is my favorite: they provide social capital. What is social capital? Social capital is the concept that social networks, groups, organizations, neighborhoods, families, etc have value like physical capital (tools, machinery, buildings, raw materials) and human capital (talents, skills, education).

CSA's like the Food Project at Ingalls provide social capital in many ways. A supermarket is for the most part not a social gathering place, in fact it often feels hostile towards anyone spending more time than is needed there. Farmer's markets on the other hand are incubators of networking. The people who work at farmer's markets know a lot about what they are selling and they enjoy interacting with their consumers, and due to the fact of their small scale they need to interact with the consumers in order to understand their needs and wants more intimately, and to gain credit and a larger consumer base via word-of-mouth recommendations. The consumers go to these markets because they like knowing where their food comes from, they like being able to discuss farming and nutrition with the workers, and they also like meeting and talking with other people shopping at said markets. I am sure there have been more than a few relationships founded over two people discussing what their favorite type of potato was at a farmer's market.

Not to make this any longer than it has to but here are two more benefits of a local source of agriculture, food security and helping the environment. On the idea of food security, not to sound like a doomsday profit but there will be times in the history of this nation when food shortages will arise and having a local source of food will at least protect a percentage of the population. As to helping the environment, growing food in your yard is a lot nicer to the environment than shipping it in across the country, simple concept right? It is for these two last reasons alone that I think every city, or at least county, should be required by law to grow/raise enough food for their citizens in order to combat not only environmental degradation but the ever rising prices and increasing scarcity of food in this world bordering on over-population.

Here is a final note to that small yet loud minority of people opposed to the Food Project at Ingalls.

1. Rats are as common as humans in cities, in fact there are probably more of them than you think there are in the city. They don't solely eat garden fare but eat everything, mostly garbage and unprotected food in kitchens all across America. So unless you are proposing that we call in the national guard to Lynn to nuke ever rat-den and post health-inspectors 24/7 in every kitchen, at every trash can in the city then your point of closing the garden is moot.

Want less rats? Do what most cities across America have begun to embrace. Keep all your trash in city-issued heavy-duty plastic barrels with lids on them. Not only do they keep the rats out but they keep the raccoons from tipping them over too. I have yet to see a single rat in the streets of my city since we started doing this, and we have a population equal to Lynn's and people just as messy as the messiest Lynner. Did I also mention we have tons of people with large vegetable gardens, but we do have a major pest problem of our own, white-tailed deer and whascly wabbits.

2. To the moron who complained about their windows being smashed in, did you ever stop to think it was a stupid move to publish your name and address in the newspaper and talk about how you call the cops on "thugs" hanging out in your neighborhood. More than likely the poor kids were doing nothing but hanging out, and even minor tagging isn't as uncommon an issue around the city as you would think, I doubt farms are to blame for either of your troubles. Not saying I condone the vandalism of property but it would have been wise to make an anonymous complaint to your local representative first rather than have your name and address out there for all to see. More than likely one of the kids in your neighborhood who you have been bullying for all these years just got fed up from having the cops called on him for being a kid and playing in schoolyard/farm after-dark and decided to be the boogey-man you fear and smash your windows. I know if I lived in your neighborhood as a kid I would have loved to play hide and seek in a garden/school yard at night and if I had you calling the cops on me for being a worrying-nancy I would even venture to say that I would be tempted to break a few panes myself.

That being said, where are the police reports, the window-replacement bills? More than likely you just wanted to see your name in the Lynn Item. In my days as a boy on High Rock street I knew far too many grumpy old folks like yourself who bullied us kids for being kids, sure we may have been guilty of being too noisy but it's not like we were dealing drugs and breaking into houses.

Maybe those opposed just really hate vegetables?

Well, there you have it. I rambled on for far too long, but I like stream-of-conscious best as it is how we think, though it may seem incoherent at times I make no false pretenses at being a refined writer.

So have a heart, and say yes to the food project at Ingalls, for the kids, for the community, for the economy, for your health, for Lynn.

Here is the petition to sign showing your support, and if you live in the area check out the farmer's market when it comes around.

Sign the petition here for tasty nutritious food, summer jobs for youths, hands on learning for students

As always, in the lee of High Rock.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

ATTN: New Owner of the FormerJewish Temple on the Lynn Commons

I remember back in spring it was made known that through an auction someone acquired the former Temple on the Commons. It went on to detail that the new owner agreed to pay back taxes and fines the former owner owed the city, it also went on to list that the new owner wanted to give the building to his son to use as a benefit to the city.

So if all this is true I have an idea for the owner's son, budding community up-lifter that he may be one day.

Why not a movie theater? Lynn used to have many small theaters, why not a small movie theater on the commons, it would be a place to keep kids off the street and bring the community together...maybe even attract new residents and curious out-of-towners. It could show old releases of classic movies (and maybe some not so classic movies) you know, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Star Wars, Cartoons for the kids. A smaller than standard admission could be charged, enough to cover the costs and put away some cash towards helping further improve the building or the owners ability to fund future projects, or just as a reward to the owner for such a service to the community.

Maybe on the weekends it could show one currently screening film. It could even serve as to show films made by local film makers.

Think about it, a structure such as a church, or in this case a temple, would be perfect for showing films or small concerts,or even plays and speeches...maybe even classes and lectures!

Let us just hope that whatever the owner does it adds to the city, even if it was just turned into condos would be an improvement to the property as it stands!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More Trees for Lynn

Not to sound like an uninformed hippy, but I think Lynn could use a lot more trees. Sure Lynn already has an expansive municipal forest at Lynn woods reservation, but how many people get to go there once a week who live in Lynn?

Chances are if you are an average working class citizen of Lynn, elderly, or young, you rarely get to go for walks in Lynn Woods. Sure it's not far you say, but after a long day of work how likely are you to drive in traffic across town and go tramping about trails? Chances are you are tired and sore and use your time off of work to relax, rarely will you have the energy to go walking up and down wooded trails on the other side of the city. You're much more likely to go sit outside on your porch or take a walk around the neighborhood. Take a look next time you are on your porch or out on foot in your neighborhood, chances are you will see some trees and a little grass here and there but in this writer's opinion your street is more than likely pretty desolate when it comes to greenery or wildlife.

As a child growing up in Lynn some streets would become to me like old Western main streets in summer, sun parched, dust billowing about, the good, the bad, and the ugly theme song faintly playing in the background. At the same time other areas in Lynn, like part of High Rock preservation and Post 507 near my house, would seem like vast impenetrable forests. It was in these wooded lots and parks where I honed my love of nature: catching snakes, finding salamanders, watching hawks soar on thermals, seeing crows and mockingbirds at war, hearing the buzzing of winged insects in the tall grasses. Though I loved animals at an early age it was not until the last five or so years that I started to appreciate plant life, in particular the trees of New England.

No other living thing does so much for us and for life in general on earth. In my opinion trees truly are the keystone species to life as we know it on earth. They provide timber for building and for fuel, shelter from heat, fruits and nuts for food, forests hold massive quantities of water protecting the area from flooding, their root systems hold soil in place protecting it from erosion.

Trees employ millions directly and billions indirectly. Foresters, loggers, carpenters, paper mills, farmers, cosmetic manufactures, pharmaceutical companies are all directly linked to trees. Then you have all the stores and businesses who deliver and sell these products and then you have all the businesses who use tree products such as paper and cardboard. You live in a house primarily constructed of wood, you write on paper, you (hopefully) eat fruits or nuts that came from a tree.

And let us not forget trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen thus making life as we know it on earth even possible

Sure, you know this you say, but how many people respect and revere trees for their endless gifts?

Instead we continue to waste their gifts without care and commit genocide on these noblest of lifeforms. Every day they are laid low so that we may clear land for cattle, lay out a plot of land for a transitory business that will be bankrupt in a hundred years or less, pave over them so we may have a place to park or drive or ingest poisonous food. Instead of respecting them for what they do, which is to sustain life and heal the wounds we constantly inflict on our own planet, we slaughter them and scoff at them.

I'm not saying we go out and hang banners on them and give them names, I'm sure all they want from us is to be left alone to do what they have been doing since we were naught but rodent-like mammals held back from evolution by reptilian tyrants.

So my Saugus-river-like-winding essay over I say we pay our respects to these silent guardians. Plant more of their kin on our streets, in our yards. Protect them on the hilltops and in the fallow fields where they are already growing or standing proud. Stay the axe from the Oak who was here when the first people hunted deer, who gave shade to our great-grandparents, who continues to give us oxygen.

That being said, save our friends and guardians who loftily stand on the hilltops of the Lynn/Salem highlands, who cool the vernal pools where rare creatures breed and sing in the spring time, who purify and protect the waters of Spring Pond! Check this blog written by Lynn's very own Katerina for everything about the wonderful woods and vernal pools, Salem/Lynn relations, Salem/Lynn small businesses that are being threatened by big box companies (Lowes and Wal-Mart) Basic info about what trees do. Info about Urban trees and the impact they have on city life, replace Lynn with Colorado if you have a bad imagination :) Info and statistics about the environmental importance of trees (for all you number-nerds)
A forest of essays written by college students about the importance of trees

May you grow tall and may your roots spread far.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Better Utilizing Public Spaces

So lately I've been tossing the idea around in my head of what to do with seemingly dead public spaces in Lynn.

There's miles of abandoned rail, endless stretches of sidewalk, median strips, and plenty of acres of barely-used parks and other open spaces the city owns and subsequently the citizens own.

Why not better utilize these existing areas for the benefit of the citizens of Lynn?

I was thinking along the lines of placing small benches on some streets in convenient locales, outside of shops, restaurants, and bars. Planting small flower-beds along the tiny squares of dirt that show up ever so often along sidewalks. Building bike/pedestrian trails along abandoned rail lines and at the same time putting in urban gardens, fruit orchards, small gardens, wildlife-friendly landscaping along these same rails.

Now of course the current mind-set of most Lynners would be "not with my tax dollars you don't!" So it goes without saying that most of these projects would have to be funded privately and created by the neighborhoods in which they are located. Which I think is great. But it leaves one to wonder, what would Lynners spend their tax dollars on? Wider streets, more car lanes, more city workers? It saddens me to think that we as citizens, not just of Lynn but of America, have grown so lazy and content with the paternalism of the Government. We see trash on our very streets, the ones we live on, and think "the city will clean it up" We go to the beach and complain about parking and wonder why the city won't do something about it, but instead most people would stay home if they were recommended to take the bus or better yet, bicycle there.

So what do we do as citizens of our city for our city? I'll answer with what I do. I write my ideas and I read what others have to say. I read the local paper every day, the internet version because currently I am located in NH. In putting my ideas out there and reading what is going on and listening to what others in the city think I am slowly putting together ways to better the community. If my short term goals are fulfilled I'll be coming back to Lynn in the next three or so years with a degree in urban planning and development in the hopes of using it to get a job working at city hall to steer the city down a path to prosperity for all, not physical wealth mind you, although I hope that ends up as a side-effect of better planning and development for Lynn.

Ask not what Lynn can do for you but what you can do for Lynn.

If you see trash on your sidewalk, throw it out. If you're at home and bored and it's summer, go outside and sweep out the storm drain grill or something. Pick up those cigarette butts out front of your house that find their way into the grooves and cracks of the walkway. Buy some flowers and plant them in that empty, half-dirt, half-grass space on the sidewalk along the street.

To get back to the main topic, I am currently working out a few ideas for open public spaces in Lynn and will share them when I can flesh them out a bit. Sadly as it is mid-spring now some of them may not be possible anymore, but what do I know, I'm not a gardener. One of them I am very excited about is my plans for a flower garden at High Rock reservation. Ever drive up there and feel bored with the landscaping? I know I have. But I guess the view of the city and the tower are more the lure to this spot anyways. There's a bit of a grass knoll which you are meant to park along that I think would make the perfect starting point of this garden. In fact, if I can gain enough donations I think I will personally attempt to use my thumb and test its greenness in this project. I guess phase one in my plan for High Rock park would be to cover that entire grass knoll with flowers. I will consult with flower experts as I know nothing about them other than that they are beautiful, attract birds, and give off a pleasant scent. So who is with me?

Phase one, contact the city and explain this plan.
Phase two, if they agree get out the word and enlist people to help that actually know something about gardening , gather money donations for the purchase of flowers, let the neighborhood know.
Phase three, contact the Item and have them take a nice picture and tell the story and try to inspire others in the city to follow suit and make their neighborhoods more beautiful/user-friendly.

Now as I am not super optimistic about the city allowing us to dig up the park and throw flowers all over the place I am going to initially ask for just permission to use the grassy Knoll along the parkway first. If this proves successful and gains positive feedback from the neighbors I think every spring we can try and have the city let us add something new: New flowering/fruit/shade trees, benches, a rose bush border along some of the rock formations, etc.

So that's what I wish to see be the first step to major improvements in the city. Actual usefulness of public spaces. I'm tired of seeing bored, uninspiring, unused public spaces in the city.

So Lynners, ready to get your hands dirty, your brows sweat-lined?