Thursday, August 27, 2009

Groundbreaking in Glendale: Community Garden to Get Underway

By Patricia Adams

Dorie Figliola has lived in Glendale for her whole life. And according to those who know her best, the community activist leaves no stone unturned when it comes to her beloved Glendale. When she noticed an unused piece of land on 88th Street near 74th Avenue, Figliola started thinking about how wasted property could turn into something that would benefit the community.

It didn’t take long to recognize a great project for the undeveloped quarter of an acre spot on the property of the Yeshiva Gedolah Seminary—a community garden where neighborhood school kids could plant a vegetable garden.

When Figliola started the wheels turning, she picked up the phone to several local officials, the Glendale Civic Association, community members and organizations.

In arranging to “borrow” the property from the Seminary, Figliola worked out the details with building manager Abraham Markowitz and administrator Rabbi Katz. “It’s a very nice thing for the community to have. We are happy to offer this space for everyone to use and enjoy,” said Markowitz.

Community residents and organizations including the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Haspel Staab Post in Middle Village joined with elected officials, Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley in picking up their shovels for a ceremonial groundbreaking last Thursday.

At the center of the shoveling pack was a beaming Figliola. “I just couldn’t stand us having to look at all the weeds. Everyone is really liking this,” she said. “It’s all part of bringing families back to Glendale.”

Others involved in helping the project get off its feet is district manager of CB 5, Gary Giordano, and the Glendale Kiwanis Club which donated $500 to begin the project.

The cleanup is slated to begin in early September and many have promised to pitch in with their time and materials required. The local Home Depot manager has told Figliola to compile a list of everything she will need and the store will see about furnishing supplies for the project.

“This is a great chance for Glendale to have some more much needed green space. The garden will really be something beautiful on 88th Street,” said Gary Giordano. And according to plans, children from a number of schools in the area will have the chance to get some fresh air and test out if they have green thumbs.

This week Figliola finally got the keys to the gate that surrounds piles of cement and overgrown weeds. “Now we have the keys and we’re just waiting for the lease," Figliola said there are so many people to thank, especially CB 5 member Tom Rossi, an attorney who has donated his time to negotiate the lease. At the end of the paper trail is what Figliola hopes is a very happy and a very green ending.

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