HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Throughout our region communities are fighting blight, areas that have been neglected or are falling apart. The City of Huntington is one of only 10 cities in the nation awarded $25,000 in 2018 to deal with such an issue. Since the Love Your Block started, the West End of Huntington has seen some successes.
What used to be a vacant, overgrown lot is now a garden. Sara Ryan and her coworkers volunteer in their off-hours building what they call a “sanctuary” on West 5th Avenue. They are one of the seven Love Your Block grant recipients.
“We’ve got rose bushes,” Ryan said. “Over here, we’re going to put a raised garden-bed which is going to have different types of flowers.”
Ryan and her coworkers at the Children’s Home Society are going to use the grant money to continue working on the garden. They plan to put in swings, a little library, even a cabinet with food and supplies for anyone in need. Ryan explains it’s more than just a garden.
“Some people might not even know each other that live from one side of the fence from the lot to the other,” Ryan said. “And that’s the main goal of it, it’s to make it that community sanctuary and make it feel like people have a place to come together.”
Kelsey Abad works for The Wild Ramp on 14th Street West. It’s a local, community supported market. They, too, are recipients of the Love Your Block grant.
“It’s important for us at The Wild Ramp to build a community space that feels welcoming and inviting for all people from all different backgrounds,” Abad said.
Abad shows a different kind of garden they’ve built with the grant money.
“A local pollinator garden,” Abad said. “To beautify our street a little bit and to really give our pollinators something to enjoy throughout the seasons.”
“Just seeing how everyone gets so excited about being able to come out of the office and work down here, we’ve had a lot of fun together as a team,” Ryan said.
Officials for the City of Huntington say just a little more than $11,000 has been distributed and more than 250 volunteer hours have been logged.
For more information on the Love Your Block program or how to become an Americorps Vista to help with the program click here.