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The neighborhood gardens are very popular to area residents as well as visually appealing to the community.
North Cass Community Garden
SmithGroup/JJR of Ann Arbor was chosen as the landscape engineers who designed the garden site without charge through their Employee Volunteer Program (EVP). Many of the area residents participated in the planning process and the actual construction of the garden. Thanks to the many contributors including The Kresge Foundation, First American Title Insurance Company, MGM Grand Casino Detroit, Landscape Forms, and the Colin Hubbell Memorial Fund, for providing funds and/or in-kind materials for this project.
Art Center Community Garden
The Art Center Community Garden (ACCG) is located at the southeast corner of John R and Palmer in the Art Center district. Similar to the North Cass Community Garden, the ACCG transformed three vacant blighted lots used for illegal parking into a functional garden providing fresh nutritious produce for families in the community. The 0.67acres were acquired through the City’s Garden/Adopt a Lot Program which allows applicants to use City-owned property for gardening, landscaping, beautification and maintenance purposes through a free yearly permit program.
SmithGroup/JJR, the company that designed the Midtown greenway trails, also designed the ACCG using their design expertise to create a visually appealing functional garden. The garden offers six ADA-accessible 4x8' plots, eighty individual 4’x8’plots, and ten commercial 8’x12’ plots to rent by neighborhood residents and businesses each year. Over 150 adults and over 60 youth are involved with gardening at the ACCG.
The garden also has its own bee hive which is maintained by a MDI staff member and one other gardener both trained to maintain the hive. The bees help with cross-pollination between the orchard and the gardener’s plots. For students who garden in the ACCG, it is an opportunity to learn about the role of bees in the growing cycle.
The construction of the ACCG was made possible with funding support and/or in-kind materials from The McGregor Fund, The Americana Foundation, Detroit LISC, The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Kaufman Memorial Trust, and Tom Delaney, a MDI Board Member, the garden has been a valuable resource to the neighborhood.