By AMANDA FRENCH
Gardeners young and old living in the Terraces of Park Place neighborhood now have a community garden to show off their green thumbs.
On Sunday, about 60 neighbors and others in the community attended the dedication of Ladybug Landing community garden and the Little Free Library.
The 10,800-square-foot garden, located next to Park Memorial United Methodist Church, is operated by the Terraces of Park Place Neighborhood Association, said Joshua Rodriquez, president of the neighborhood association. Rodriquez said this project has been a year in the making. The idea was presented by the Neighborhood Association last year to help spruce up the Park Place neighborhood.
“I hoped it would bring people together, and it has,” Rodriquez said, adding neighborhood leadership and the local government have come together on this project. “I hope it grows us as a community.”
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, who was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said it’s incredible.
“This is why Jeffersonville is so special to me,” Moore said.
Work on the garden started last October, after grants from City Pride, an organization dedicated to the beautification in Jeffersonville, and the Urban Enterprise Zone, were given to the Neighborhood Association. The garden went from six tomato plants last June to 30 total plots, with 24 plots privately owned. Small plots are $50 and large plots are $70. This money will go toward the water bill, Rodriquez said.
The Little Free Library is a box mounted to the shed on the garden’s property where neighbors can take a book and leave a book. The library is the first one to be dedicated in Clark or Floyd counties.
During the dedication, many people from the neighborhood were recognized for their help with the Ladybug Landing garden and library.
“People really do care about their neighborhood,” Rodriquez said.
Doyleen Turner, 79, was recognized for her help with the children’s garden, and being the oldest gardener in Ladybug Landing. Turner said she wanted the children’s garden to have fun things to plant. During the dedication, children, along with Moore, planted blue potatoes, peanuts and gourds, which will be used for crafts later in the year. Turner said she thinks this garden was needed now with the rising cost of food.
“It’s wonderful for this day and time,” Turner said.
For Turner, gardening is a generational thing; she attended the dedication with her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. Gardening for 25 years before retiring and moving into an apartment, Turner still has the passion and craving for it.
“It [food grown in gardens] tastes better,” Turner said.
Tom See was also among the neighbors recognized for his involvement with the garden. See, who was quick to deny he had a green thumb, helped in other ways. See helped build the shed and library. Living in the Park Place neighborhood for 19 years, See is excited about what the garden will mean to future generations in the neighborhood.
People from the community also came to the dedication. Marilyn Czape, from the Oak Park neighborhood in Jeffersonville, said she’s a part of the Neighborhood Leader Association, which brings all leaders of their neighborhood committees together. Her husband, Mike Czape, helped with the watering at Ladybug landing. Czape said she came out to show her support to Rodriquez. Czape said the Oak Park neighborhood has a patch of land for flowers and bushes, but not as elaborate as Ladybug Landing.
“I wish this was our neighborhood,” Czape said.