Washington School Neighbors has been operating our community gardens since 2014. We were fortunate that Hope Church and First United Methodist Church supported this outreach and graciously allowed us to use their land for this purpose. We have seen the value of neighbors connecting through the gardens and watched relationships grow as well as fresh produce. The power of those connections is what prompted us to start looking at ways to continue this outreach. In the Summer of 2019 we reached out to all of you, and asked for input about whether the gardens should continue and what this process would look like. In September of 2019 we secured a piece of land in the WSN neighborhood for this purpose. We also applied for a grant through the Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland, and were awarded the full requested amount of $10,000. The totals costs for this project are $15,000, and we will need to raise the remaining $5,000 by Spring 2020. This project has already shown its’ value through neighbors who have organized gatherings in this space and contributed their time through the upkeep of this property. As we look to develop this land for the new community gardens, as well as a place for neighbors to gather, we will need the continued support of our neighbors. There are many ways that you can be involved in this process. Whether it be through the donation of plants for the flower garden, help with building and developing the land, sharing your ideas, or through the donation of financial resources for this specific purpose. There will be meetings starting in March of 2020 as we start to plan and designate those that want to be a part of this important community project. If you would like to contribute in any of these ways, or have other ideas, we would love to hear from you.
Please email: [email protected]
If you would like to donate to this project, you can select the drop down: Get Involved/Donate and follow the prompts,
or you can mail or drop off a check to:
Hope Church 77 West 11th Street Attn: Washington School Neighbors and designate that you would like your contribution to go towards this project.
We look forward to building a better community with all of you!
In June of 2020 WSN was able to pay off the land in full. This space is now the property of the WSN Neighborhood. With the onset of Covid-19, and the stay order, and increased safety precautions we lost several months of planning and development. In July of 2020 we started the process of getting a permit to construct a small garden shed on the property. A foundation was poured on September 15th, and a crew of 7 neighbors built the shed on October 15th. We have hosted some events and gatherings and look forward to many more. This space is slowly, but surely coming to life and we cannot wait to see it transformed. We hope to lay ground for a vertical garden area still in the Fall of 2020, and we will need neighbor volunteers to be a part of this process. When neighbors volunteer in their community, they hold a stake in the future sustainability of these projects.
In April of 2021 we were able to start planning again for the development of this new space. On April 12th the gutter system that feeds into our rain barrel system was installed. On April 17th we held a Compost 101 class for neighbors and constructed out first compost bin for the new space. On May 11th 12 4ft by 4ft. raised garden beds were constructed and May 14th wood chips were put around the new beds. The rain barrel was installed on May 17th and with the first rain we found success in this new system. With the help of the City of Holland we received a load of dirt on May 19th and loaded up the raised beds in preparation for gardeners. May 20th was the first day that we opened up the process for those interested to reserve a plot for the season. The first plants of the 2021 grow season started to show up on May 21st. All twelve of the first round of plots are occupied and it is a wonderful mix of former gardeners, new neighbors, rental tenants and a couple young gardeners.
Next steps: We will begin the area at the south end of the lot that we are calling the Peace Garden area. This will have plants and flowers, a river rock pathway, bench, gazing ball and a sculpture made and donated by a neighbor on West 10th street. This space is the result of several neighbors volunteering to use their gifts to transform this area for all neighbors to enjoy. We look forward to how the next few months of work unfold and watching neighbors use this gathering/garden space.
Update 8/25/2021: On June 23rd, we started work on the area at the North end known as the Peace Garden. We removed the grass, started to plant the donated plants and began moving the mulch into place. We installed a second rain barrel on June 28th, to allow for more water capture. On July 9th we were ready to have a large load of rocks delivered and put into place. We had a donation of 4 Adirondak chairs that went into place, and this space started to take shape. On July 20th we installed a garden sculpture donated by a neighbor. We received a grant from The City Of Holland in late June for a solar panel system. That now powers a free wifi hot spot for all neighbors to use. The future applications may be a pump for the rain barrels to allow for ground irrigation, and a motion light at the front of the shed. Neighbors have started to enjoy the space and use it for gathering. Throughout this process the original plans have been adapted to incorporate neighbor desires. This is exactly what we hoped would happen. There are a few final touches to take place this fall, with the addition of a 4 ft. metal fence on the west and north ends. I have several ‘garden angels’ that have cared for and donated to this project with their time and resources. This is the only way we were able to build this community space. I am blessed to have met so many wonderful neighbors that gave in such a beautiful way to this project.
Update 12/02/2021: On October 14th, four neighbors gathering in the rain to put up a 3 foot tall fence along the West and North ends o the property. It was on of the final large projects to be completed. On November 15th, the final report to the CFHZ was given a s final stage in the grant obligation. We had an opportunity to share all of the stages in this process and the many neighbors that came together, even in tough times, to develop this community space. WSN hosted over 18 work days and saw more than 53 neighbors volunteers their time and talents to this project. The stories of neighbors forging connections because of this space are many. There is now life where there was an empty lot for 20 years. There are a few final pieces like a dedication plaque and historical marker, a peace pole and a bird bath. We plan to build an additional 3-6 raised garden beds in the Spring of 2022 to accommodate more neighbors interested in gardening. We know this space will be enjoyed by all neighbors , for years to come.
Please email Lisa with ideas, or to express your desire to become more involved in this project. I am so blessed by all of you who have shown up to make this community asset happen in the WSN Neighborhood!