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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

A safe park for everyone

Local crime watcher Sue Hille reminded the blog that the Grant Park Easter Egg Hunt is on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 10 a.m.
She's also recruiting volunteers for NOPS (Neighborhood Observation Patrol Services) via the COPS shop on East Fifth. Here's how Hille explains the program: “At this time there are no NOPS volunteers in the East Central-area. Volunteers would cruise the streets in groups of two or more, roaming with a purpose, roving eyes to identify possible trouble spots in the evening or during the day. These volunteers do not leave their cars. They are equipped to alert appropriate Law Enforcement, Civil or Social Service personnel of potential problems and might be given specific areas to watch. Application procedure is easy and training takes only two hours. NOPS training is scheduled for April 25, in the evening. For more information please call C.O.P.S.E.C. at 509-625-3330

Some are excited for the snow

Saw this group of kids crossing Perry Street, headed toward sledding in Grant Park. Looks like they are going to have a really good time on this snow day off.

How to plan a community garden

The planning process is just getting started, neighborhood input is sought and a survey is planned, as well as conversation as to how the school can be involved. A neighborhood garden can not be limited to only people in a specific neighborhood participating - gardeners may be coming from all over town.
Community meetings will be held once the surveys have been collected.
Staff and Leah - an Americorp volunteer - from Vinegar Flats Community Garden will take the lead on the development of the Grant Park Community Garden.
Estes said the city really is behind this project - “they want to start construction in March,” he said. “Minds have been made up and they want to see it happen.”
There is hope this will be a pilot in a series of community gardens. Estes said that the Parks Department will help put in water lines, clean the plot (100 feet by 100 feet) and will put down soil if needed.
It's strongly suggested that someone from SPBNA becomes part of the planning process - now.
Estes offers to be the go-between guy for now, but a volunteer with enough time and gardening passion is needed to step up to the plate.

The president would like to take the sense of the group: would SPBNA be interested in becoming the primary organization behind the Community Garden. (A majority of hands went up around the table.)
Volunteers? The Perry Street Cafe offered to hand out paper surveys; Pastor Deb volunteered to help out with question development. (And we are now running about 40 minutes past when the meeting was supposed to end…)

And there is a small hitch…

… the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association is not a non-profit organization so it cannot be a fiscal agent on its own. It's possible to create a partnership with the East Central Development Organization or another organization under the East Central Neighborhood Council or connected to the East Central Neighborhood Center.
One question: who protects a community garden from vandalism?
Short answer: nobody, except neighbors within line of sight, but a garden may also serve as a community building tool.
Jerry Numbers said the other community gardens in East Central really have not been vandalized.
“You gotta have a little trust and faith going into these things,” Numbers said.
Brian Estes from the farmers market said that some research shows that a community garden may actually reduce crime, because people get to know each other better and keep an eye out for each other.

A proposed community garden in Grant Park

Brian Estes from the South Perry Farmers Market had a lot to say about a proposed community garden in Grant Park, after Jerry Numbers reminded people that there are already several community gardens in East Central:
The city water department already has two community garden on their property and the same model may be applied to park land - “And they bit,” said Estes.
The Parks Department is working on putting together a policy for community gardens on park land, and a pilot project is being put together featuring the proposed community garden in Grant Park.
Estes has a long list of people and organizations who have offered their expertise developing a project like this and people and companies who have offered in-kind donations of work and materials.
It looks like there may be a $2,500 grant available from the SRHD to get the garden started - the grant will be channeled through the Neighborhood Matters program.
The layout of the garden is not determined yet - at this point there is a lot of ideas being tossed around and the planning of the project will include a LOT of neighborhood input.
WSU design students are ready to start helping the project in March.
Estes explained that the Parks Department insists on there being a fiscal agent, an organization, that is responsible for the project and for the maintenance of the gardens in an appropriate manner. He'd like for SPBNA to be that fiscal agent, because that would make the community garden a project that's closely connected to the neighborhood.
It's been proposed that Grant Elementary starts a garden club. The school uses the park for a lot of activities and physical education projects during school days - that must be taken into consideration, said Jerry Numbers. He added that it's important that the project is connected to the East Central Neighborhood Council. Conveniently, Numbers is the new president of the East Central Neighborhood Council.

A pretty one, just because

Here’s a shot from Grant Park early Thursday morning - goes without saying that it’s prime time for fall colors.

World Refugee Day celebration in Grant Park

World Relief Spokane is inviting neighbors and businesses on South Perry to a celebration of World Refugee Day on Saturday June 26 in Grant Park. Events begin at noon with a potluck of traditional food from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and many other countries. At 2 p.m. there will be a program featuring traditional dance and song performed by refugees who have settled in Spokane.

The press release from World Relief Spokane states that many refugees live in the South Perry District, where they shop and go to school - this is an open invitation to come and meet the families that have found a new home in Spokane.

Download the flier for the event here and feel free to share and post. World Relief Spokane can be reached at (509) 484-9829