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Residents Band Together, Receive Grants For Neighborhood

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Just south of Globe Life Park in Arlington, nestled between Stadium Drive and a railroad track sits the 200 home neighborhood called Parkview. The homes are old, the residents diverse in culture and age. But an unusual piece of property has brought them all together like never before.

A few years ago a piece of property at the end of a cul-de-sac was a vacant lot left behind when a house burned down. It became a worrisome eyesore in the sixty year old neighborhood fighting to maintain property values and a safe neighborhood.

“We try to utilize our vacant lots so it doesn’t look like nobody wants to live here or use those lots,” said neighborhood organizer Shirley Patterson. “They’re valuable for us.”

The neighborhood banded together to seek out grant money so they could buy and improve the property.

“We’ve had about $75,000 donated to our neighborhood,” Patterson said.

They even received a one-time grant from neighboring GM during the Super Bowl — that was the one that let them buy the land.

Patterson walks past one of a dozen gardening boxes now in the lot.

“Lettuce,” Patterson said pointing at some young leaves sprouting from the potting soil. “That’s lettuce.”

The vacant lot evolved into a community garden.  A neighborhood architect designed a meeting space complete with a pergola.

“When we schedule events this is where we go,” Patterson said.

“I think it means a lot because we have our gatherings here several times a year,” said Verna B. Ford who lives across the street from the lot.  “We have a Christmas program every year.”

“Everybody pitches in and it makes a whole picture,” Patterson said.

She called the compilation of skills that goes into the park the Parkview Jigsaw Puzzle.

♦♦♦READ THE ARLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWSLETTER HIGHLIGHTING PARKVIEW’S WORK♦♦♦

“We have different neighborhoods that have different projects but this is the first one of the first projects I’ve seen where they’ve gone out of there way to get grants in order to be able to better their neighborhood,” Arlington Police Officer Natalie Keuhling who is the crime prevention officer for that area.

The lot that once threatened a neighborhood now unites it and the city of Arlington is now using it as a model to hold up to other neighborhoods.

“It’s always a work in progress,” Patterson said of the garden. “It’s never finished.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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