Above: Workers install a fence in the new garden on James Street.

by Kelsey Shea

Deutschtown neighbors are noticing some big changes happening in a vacant lot on James Street.

Neighbors, businesses and the city came together this summer  to clear the lots at 707-709 James Street and make room for a brand new community garden in a space that was once an eyesore.

A volunteer from ACAC helps with the planting. (Photo courtesy Emily Leone Honhart)
A volunteer from ACAC helps with the planting. (Photo courtesy Emily Leone Honhart)

“It was a mess and we needed so much help,” said Emily Leone Honhart, NSLC business development director. “There was no way we could have done this in one day.”

The project started with a $2,000 Love Your Block grant from the mayor’s office that the East Allegheny Community Council won.

City Works then removed four dump trucks full of garbage and rubble from the lot.

Soon after, volunteers from the community were joined by volunteers from the Pipitone Group and Allegheny Center Alliance Church’s student ministries program for a clean-up on June 15.

Volunteers cleared and weeded the vacant lot, built planters and prepped a nearby wall for a mural.

The grant money paid for plants and supplies for landscaping and cleaning, but then donations began rolling in.

“People just kept dropping things off. It was great,” said Barbara Burns of the East Allegheny Community Council.

Pittsburgh Citiparks provided additional plants for the garden and mosaic tiles were created and donated by local kids an and an artist thru Citiparks Community Enrichment Program.