Lansing Neighborhood Builds Greenhouse For Community Growing

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For families in Lansing's Allen neighborhood, sunny Saturdays are usually spent shooting hoops and riding bikes.

But in a few weeks, garden hoes and watering cans may replace basketballs and bicycles. A public greenhouse in the middle of Hunter Park is about to be in full bloom.

"The idea is [that the 6,500 people who live in this area] will be able to grow food all year round," says Allen Neighborhood Center's Judith Bridger. "That really is the object."

It's called the GardenHouse, and it's the result of a $100,000 Cool Cities grant.

Saturday afternoon, Board of Water and Light workers and members of the IBEW Local 352 volunteered their time and goods to put the finishing touches on the project.

"Hunter Park is right downtown in Lansing," says IBEW Local 352 business manager Joseph Davis. "There are lots of kids in the area, and when something like this comes along, it's only natural to help out."

Once the GardenHouse is complete, anyone can come to grow fruits, veggies or flowers. It's a change for the neighborhood where kids usually cavort on the concrete.

"I have three kids myself, anytime i can get them to learn about nature or grow food, it's nature in the city, and it's a beautiful thing," says neighbor Pete Vargas.

"In the future, I'm hoping I can stop by and grab a fresh tomato," adds Davis.

"We want this to be a place people will come and hang out, be encouraged to grow food in their own yards, talk with friends," Bridger says, "Even share food with each other."

...And be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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