Tacoma March 18, 2015

UPS Gardens


How an unsightly neighborhood patch of brush and weeds with junk cars turned into a wonderful Tacoma North End Neighborhood garden and park:


Barbara and Peter Temple Thurston have lived in this neighborhood for 24 years.  About twelve years ago Barbara began working with the City of Tacoma to gain access to  an unsightly dump area at the head of Buckley gulch, They designated the area as a public park that folks could use as a pleasant walk through from the east side of N. 16th to the west side of N.16th.  Then Barbara and Peter, with the help of the city and a friend or two, set about cleaning up the waste lot. They hauled away junked car parts, and built soil, created a path, and planted trees and plants to establish a peaceful and  beautiful space.  Thanks to a neighborhood grant that Barbara secured they were able to buy some plants and hire a fellow to build the path.

Adjacent to the park was a defunct substation. Around five years ago when the park was doing well, Barbara and a couple of neighbors pursued gaining access to the fenced empty substation to establish a community garden. Again, this took countless meetings with TPI who owned the property, with the city, and with representatives of the city and neighborhood councils. Big thanks go to the North End neighborhood council for their assistance and support.

A couple of years of pressure and at last they got the green light! Barbara and Peter called a meeting of interested neighbors and formed a solid committee to plan and build the now flourishing garden. Again, Barbara accessed a grant which funded the building of raised beds and the purchase of a delightful little gazebo which adds charm and beauty to the garden. Peter, an artist, designed the front gates and sign, while others built the shed and everyone came together to build the boxes. The fence and the surrounding shrubbery was already there thanks to TPU's stewardship, so after the garden boxes were filled and the gazebo built, neighbors donated a table and chairs.  Neighbors quickly signed up for a garden bed and today they enjoy both the peace of this beautiful setting and the delicious harvest of their organic produce! Everyone has made friends with their neighbors.