NYCHA Collaborates to Expand Green Spaces at
Lillian Wald Houses
You never know who you might see when walking through the grounds of NYCHA’s developments. On Oct. 3, residents of Lillian Wald Houses saw a walking peanut. Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters, was on hand to help unveil Planters Grove, a new green space at the Manhattan development.
Planters Grove was designed with input from residents and covers 8,000 square feet of green space. It includes flowers and plants that stay bright and lush all year to attract birds and butterflies. The area will also include benches made from recycled plastic and many aromatic herbs that can be picked and added to recipes. There will even be wooden poles in place to encourage greenery to grow that are laid out in the shape, of course, of a peanut.
|Some of the newly planted flora at the Lillian Wald Houses Planters Grove . (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)|
“We all can help keep it [the grove] alive by planting and cleaning so we can be proud of it," said Wald Houses Resident Association President Charlotte Miles. "It is so beautiful to see this outside my window.”
Collaboration was the theme that most speakers discussed during their remarks at the opening event. “What’s happening today with Planters partnering with us to improve public housing and reinvest and give something back says volumes about what America is about,” said NYCHA Chairman John B Rhea. “This is an example of what is needed to preserve and sustain public housing.”
|Commissioner Margarita López looks on as planting proceeds at Lillian Wald's Planters Grove. (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)|
Members of Green City Force, which provides NYCHA youth with green-collar job training, led the construction efforts and will join with NYCHA residents to care for the grove. Maurice Davis, a resident of Rutgers Houses, gave an emotional speech about what helping to build the grove meant to him. “To my fellow residents, if we learn to not be so selfish, and take in what’s going on in our environment, there are greater possibilities at hand,” said Mr. Davis, who drew a standing ovation. “Let this garden and this day be a stepping stone to something more.”
“Planters is proud to have partnered with NYCHA and Green City Force to build a natural, green space at Lillian Wald Houses – one that promotes community interaction and stewardship,” said Planters Senior Brand Manager Scott Marcus. “Our hope is that the residents of Lillian Wald Houses and surrounding NYCHA developments will not only enjoy their new Planters Grove, but will benefit from the many health and environmental benefits open spaces can provide.”
The grove furthers Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC goal of creating more accessible open space citywide and ensuring every New Yorker lives within a 10-minute walk from green space. The grove has many features that focus on environmental sustainability, including the removal of 80 yards of concrete that was replaced with soil, and an area that used to flood that now will collect rainwater and flow into the garden to irrigate plant life.
NYCHA Commissioner Margarita López, the Authority’s Environmental Coordinator, said the project is in line with the philosophy of the development’s namesake, Lillian Wald, who was a leader in social reform of public health and played a key role in organizing the American Red Cross. “I invite all of you to enjoy this,” Commissioner López said. "But also, to protect it, for your children.”
By Eric Deutsch
Oct. 5, 2011