Project EverGreen completes New Jersey, East Harlem renovations

June 21, 2017 -  By
Photo: Project EverGreen

Project EverGreen volunteers work to renovate a community garden in East Harlem. Photo: Project EverGreen

Project EverGreen cut the ribbon on its most recent projects, Hazlet (N.J.) Youth Athletic League’s (HYAL) William B. Paterson Field and the Neighbors of Vega Baja community garden in East Harlem, New York.

“With more than half of the population living in urban areas, it’s critical that neighborhood parks and community gardens are available for the health benefits and social well-being of kids and adults,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Additionally, green spaces in cities work to sequester carbon and create oxygen for those living in the community. Project EverGreen works collaboratively with individuals, businesses and like-minded groups to renovate and restore green spaces.”

Starting in 2016, the Hazlet project began with a landscape restoration, which improved the health and vigor of the weather-damaged grass field. The field is the surface where nearly 1,500 children within Hazlet Township play in the HYAL fall football and spring flag football leagues.

Performance Nutrition’s division of Hazlet-based LidoChem provided financial support, and Bridgewater, N.J.-based Natural Green Lawn Care, along with other community members, provided labor to reshape, fertilize and seed the field. The project, which improved the playability and safety of the 100,000-sq. ft. playing surface, cost more than $25,000, according to Project EverGreen.

“We’re proud to partner with Project EverGreen on this initiative to restore our own hometown Hazlet Hawks youth natural grass athletic field for our kids,” said Don Pucillo, president of LidoChem. “We’re especially pleased to contribute earth-friendly and kid-safe products to produce a greener, healthier, cooler play area where our children can play outside and just be kids.”

Across the Hudson River, the Neighbors of Vega Baja community garden is a 40-year-old community garden named after the Puerto Rican hometown of many of the local residents, including the garden’s father. Now open, the garden was closed for nearly a year as construction went on.

Brian Tauscher, owner of Artisan Gardens Landscape, kicked off the project by donating gravel lining and topsoil to fill large planter boxes and by planting new apple trees, hydrangeas and fruit-bearing bushes. ConEd employee volunteers planted an additional 350 vegetables, herbs and ornamental flowering shrubs.

Plants were supplied by Plant Detectives. In all, the garden project received more than $15,000 in materials and services donations. 

“Community gardens, such as this, changes the trajectory of knowledge and way of thinking,” said Carlos Martinez, deputy director, GreenThumb (NYC Parks). “For the kids of NYC, growing vegetables is a new experience. Our job is far from done.”



About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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