School Board votes to transfer property for community garden

Last night, in a unanimous decision, the Pottstown School Board voted to transfer a vacant lot at 423 Chestnut Street to the MOSAIC Community Land Trust (CLT). Read about it here.

Old Chestnut Street Park

A community land trust is a proven model for promoting affordable homeownership, stabilizing neighborhoods and improving local economies. The community garden at 423 Chestnut will be its first project.

Pottstown’s CLT is a project of the Preservation Pottstown organization founded nearly 30 years ago. The group recently adopted the name MOSAIC Community Land Trust because a mosaic is the coming together of many different, colorful pieces – even some that are a bit rough around the edges! – to create a thing of beauty. (Keep an eye out for an upcoming call for artists to create a mosaic logo for the CLT, in conjunction with The Gallery School!)

The new board of trustees now at the helm of Preservation Pottstown/MOSAIC, with the support of a grant from National Penn Bank (thank you, Sharon McMichael!), have been working with a nationally-known CLT expert, Van Temple, to get its by-laws and operations in order so that it can own and manage projects like the community garden and, eventually, rehab and sell homes to low- and moderate-income working folks.

The School District’s decision is a huge milestone for what it represents: a new wave of partnership and collaboration on a progressive, healthy, sustainable community initiative. This effort has been led by the indomitable spirit of Katy Jackson on behalf of MOSAIC and supported and nurtured by many others, including Dr. Reed Lindley, Stephen Kalis, Andrew Monastra, Jason Bobst, Judy Memberg & Genesis Housing and Al Gryga of DePallo Design & Planning.

While it will be too late to get veggies in the ground for this summer, a team of volunteers and professionals are lined up to begin cleaning up and preparing the lot, perhaps for some fall harvesting, but certainly for next spring. I apologize in advance if I miss anyone in the list that follows – let me know and I’ll get additional names in here! Some of those who have committed to making this happen include: Master Gardeners from Penn State; Shawn Conroy & Lowe’s employees, Alan Jensen-Sellers, Master Arborist with Davey Tree Experts; Eric Schmidt of Colonial Gardens, Mary-Beth Lydon, Chris Huff, Teri Jensen-Sellers, McDonald’s and Giant for refreshments for volunteers, and many, many more.

Teaching children & adults…  meeting neighbors… enjoying the outdoors… getting your hands dirty…  the MOSAIC garden committee is always looking to grow its community. For more information, visit MOSAIC Community Land Trust’s website here.

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