The official opening of the North 1st Street Prosperity Garden took place on Thursday, August 5th. And it seems to have gone off without a hitch. There was a nice sized group who came out for the event, including city officials, the CUperstars and market patrons.
Speakers for the even the event included the mayor of Champaign, Jerry Schweighart, Sonya Lynch (Boys and Girls Club), Dave Freeman (Master Gardener who spearheaded the idea), Sandra Mason (horticulture educator of the U of I Extension), and Val McWilliams (secretary/treasurer of the N 1st Street Association). Each talked about the benefit the garden has had to the beautification of the neighborhood, as well as how it benefits the students who work the garden.
Refreshments were served at the event, including a couple of ingredients that came from the garden - tomatoes and basil. They were put with other ingredients from vendors to make fresh bruschetta, courtesy of Alejandra Coronel from the U of I Extension office, division of Nutrition Education.
Others who made the day a success included Janet Broughton and Rory Nicholson, who helped to organize the activities for the garden, the City of Champaign for providing the land and financial assistance, more specifically TJ Blakeman for his expertise in navigating through the required steps with the City.
Labor for the garden and building of the shed was donated graciously by SGI Contractors, Land of Lincoln for providing the space for meetings and everyday assistance in directing to the proper contact when problems arose, and the Farmers Market for providing a space and guidance so the students could sell their produce at the market. Some funding was provided by the Regional Planning Commission for some labor costs as well as smaller purchases for the garden. And last, but not least, thanks to Menards for selling many of the items bought for the garden, at a discount.
Here are some pictures from the August 5th Event: