By Robert and Zoya Margolis
Alexandria, VA – Something exciting is happening in historic Alexandria City government is planning to give the Old Town Pool, 1609 Cameron Street, a big makeover, and we’re not just watching passively. We hope to collaborate with the City to create a community garden on the field next to the pool that will bloom alongside the renovations.
Our idea came from visiting community gardens around the DMV area. Those neighborhoods turned empty spaces into places to grow fresh food and they are quiet spots where people can relax. We are learning what to do and what challenges to expect from successful community gardens that shared their experiences and plans with us. We want our garden to be as successful and helpful as theirs.
A community garden is not just about plants; it’s where everyone, young and old, can connect with nature. People from different backgrounds come together around shared values and goals. Kids can learn how things grow, older folks can share gardening secrets, and we all get the calming joy of working with our hands.
We plan to work with experts, donors, and planners. The proposed site is next to the Jefferson-Houston School and Durant Community Center. Our vision includes children learning about the relationship between soil, plants, food, and the broader environment. We will encourage educators to integrate and use the garden in their curriculum.
Turning this good idea into reality will take a group effort. It won’t be easy, but we’re confident it can happen with the community’s support and help from local groups. After all, the real value of a community garden is the stories and memories we’ll make.
The timeline for the pool renovation is moving ahead quickly. The City expects to put a contract in place for the design phase this fall and will hold community engagement meetings by the end of this year or early next year. City planners are open to the idea of dedicating space for a community garden as part of the pool renovation process. However, getting this idea from concept to implementation will take a team. Now is the time to get organized.
To that end, we will be holding a meeting on Monday, October 16, at 7 pm in the Durant Center to unite people interested in being part of the planning process. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this meeting. If you can’t make the meeting, contact us directly at [email protected] to discuss how you can get involved.