Students get work started on Langton Road pocket gardens
In early November, six Cleveland Heights High School students helped the Noble Neighborhood's pocket garden project take a step forward. The project, launched last spring, aims to build community spirit and increase property values through coordinated landscape beautification. (A March article in the Heights Observer provided background information on the project and can be found at http://heightsobserver.org/read/2018/03/27/pocket-gardens-planned-for-noble-neighborhood.)
The students—Martin Vaynshtok, Mi'Kail Williams, Jay Ward, Jachelle Knowles, Christopher Edwards and Saunjae Andrews—spent six hours spreading cardboard and 20 cubic yards of compost, topsoil and mulch on 11 frontyard garden beds on Langton Road. The six are students of Steven Warner, career-based intervention instructor at Heights High. "I am proud of the work the students did on Langton Road,” said Warner. “It was great to see them working together in the community."
The neighborhood coordinator of the project is Langton Road resident Madeleine Macklin, who made her first public request for greater community focus on collective street beautification at a Noble Neighbors meeting last winter. As the project took shape, she recruited 10 of her neighbors to take part in the project by making a financial contribution.
The bulk of the pocket garden project’s funding—close to $6,000—came from individuals living in the neighborhood and foundations, with additional support coming from Heights Community Congress, Noble Neighbors and the Home Repair Resource Center.
The funding enabled the project coordinator, Green Paradigm Partners, to purchase high-quality, biologically enhanced soil-building components that are expected to reduce the amount of watering and maintenance needed. The funds also enabled the project to pay the students and other implementers.
“We regard the Langton Road effort as a pilot project for the broader Noble Neighborhood,” said Brenda May, a leader of Noble Neighbors. “That means scaling up beyond what is possible with pure volunteerism—which can only get you so far. I’m hoping that we can get enough financial support to implement similar projects on multiple streets around the neighborhood.”
The project also fits the emerging direction of the Noble Neighborhood, May said, as an ideal site for “eco-pioneers”—residents who want to experiment with the area’s high-quality, low-cost housing stock and landscapes to develop new approaches to food-growing and beautification.
Tom Gibson, a resident of Cleveland Heights since 1980, is a principal of Green Paradigm Partners, a community organizing and landscape design firm. He is a former Reaching Heights board member.