When I moved to St Louis almost two years ago, my house was situated right next to a long abandoned store front. The windows were boarded up and the roof had collapsed. Quite an eyesore, and an open invitation to our neighborhood's many feral cats. I often dreamed of what this space could be. Perhaps we could rescue and restore this building in our historic neighborhood.
Early last spring I came home to two men with a ladder, taking down the building piece by piece. The dream of restoring this building was gone, but it made way for a new dream. This was the future of Temple Gardens! I called the city at least 10 times, trying to find out the fate of the empty lot next to my house. It turns out the land was LRA-owned (Land Reutilization Authority) and available for purchase.
Long story short: DHQ approves, THQ approves, offer made to the city, offer denied, new offer made, offer accepted, we close and the land is ours!
In the middle of this whole process, Gateway Greening began accepting applications for expansion grants. We submitted our application in August, and soon heard that we were awarded six new garden beds and a picnic table.
We closed on the property last week, and on Saturday we began our expansion! We had a great crew from Temple Houses, Young Life, and Echelon who were able to assemble and fill the beds in under two hours.
So what's next for the new space? We have a delivery of wood chips coming soon, and we'll be installing some fencing early next month. During the winter months we'll be planning what to grow and where to grow it.
Our dream for Temple Gardens is that it will serve as a gathering place for neighbors. We envision something more than a few garden beds. It will be a place for families to spend time together, where artists can display their work, and where friends can share a meal together.
Stay tuned, because good things are happening at 2747 Arsenal St.