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The Grace United Church of Christ and the Wesley United Methodist Church have started a Community Garden in Culver as part of their outreach ministry. The garden is at the northeast corner of North Slate Street and West Lewis Street in Culver. This is the first year for this project at this location. It will be interesting to observe its success since it is just down the street from our office.
Easterday Construction Co., Inc. has helped support this effort by donating steel stakes for tomato cages and wood stakes for row markers. We received a nice thank-you note from the organizers. We are happy to support this community effort and wish the two Churches every possible success with this new undertaking. We take pride in our community and participate in community efforts where we can. Many of our employees volunteer their time and skills to make Culver a better place.
As you can see in the note, the organizers need worker bees to help tend the garden. If you have a green thumb and time to donate, step up to the plate and get your hands dirty! It’s for a good cause.
Water conservation is not a huge issue in our area, but we’re hearing about it more and more on a national level. California Governer Scharzeneggar declared a goal of a 20 percent reduction in water use state-wide by 2012. California currently purchases water from Arizona, but with the continual development expansion in Arizona, particularly in arid areas such as Pheonix, the need for fresh water is a growing issue in the Southwest. How does that affect us in Northern Indiana?
I was asked to write an article for the Culver Citizen explaining a little about Garden Court and the positive reasons for bringing one to Culver as well as the obstacles preventing the project. It was printed in the paper last week along with a sidebar I wrote giving a little description of the umbrella group that is Garden Court. I have copied the article and sidebar below:
Pocket Towns (copyrighted) are a concept I ran across in an article in the January 2009 issue of Professional Builder Magazine. (Read Article Here.) They are high density housing on smaller lots (less than 3000 sf). The homes are pushed to the front and have as little as 5′ side setbacks. Living space varies from 950 sf to 2400 sf with a mix of one and two story homes. Read more about them on BSB’s website here.
Becky and I were in Tampa a couple of weeks ago. Becky had a conference and I tagged along. I didn’t see the new pocket town neighborhood discussed in the article, but I saw some of the old Tampa neighborhoods that it was modeled after. Somewhat narrow brick streets with granite curbs.
(I’m still trying to figure out how granite curbs were affordable in central Florida at the turn of the century when there wouldn’t be a quarry within hundreds, if not a thousand miles.) At the end of the block was a library and a service station. Across that intersection were small shops and a neighborhood grocery store.
These homes were built on an alley system with no garages or off street parking on the front. Parking was allowed on one or both sides of the street, but the streets were pretty narrow when there were cars parked on both sides. Having an alley also allows for utilities to be moved to the back side of the property. Optimally they would all be buried, but that is usually cost prohibitive and rarely seen in older neighborhoods. Some of the homes had parking in the rear or even a garage accessed from the alley.
Part of the Green initiative is a move towards smaller homes and more efficient use of the landscape. The USGBC gives points toward LEED certification for efficient use of land. Notice the return of the front porch which I discussed here previously.
The streets themselves were interesting too. In our area, the recommended construction for brick streets have the streets crowned towards a concrete curb and gutter. This allows storm water to run on the concrete gutter in lieu of across the brick where the brick surface would be eroded and the sand between the brick would be washed away. Florida is so flat and sandy that very little of the water runs off anyway, so the gutter line isn’t as important. The brick streets act as a solid driving surface yet a somewhat pervious surface to absorb storm runoff.
Can Culver survive Wolf’s Dilemma? For those of you that don’t know, there are various versions of Wolf’s Dilemma, but basically it goes as follows:
This is the Dilemma. A random sample of people are chosen to “play”.
Except this is Culver. Everyone knows everyone else. Does that make it better or worse?
There seems to be a constant battle between the various factions in Culver. The Mary Means Study that was completed several years ago referred to these groups as tribes and labeled the main tribes as the Academies, Town, Lake and Ag. Unfortunately the chiefs and their allegances seem to change depending on what the issue is. Pardon me for not printing my list here, but I think we can all name an issue or squabble. If I name even one here I’ll be on one side or another of a group or individual with which I have to work! At times this goes all the way down to issues between individual board or committee members that are unable to work together.
My point is that we all should quit pushing the button! If we work together for the common good, we would all be better off. Occasionally we do come together for the common good. The original formation of the Second Century Committee is an example of this for civic groups. The Culver Union Township Public Library as well as the EMS and Fire that are under a Town and Township partnership are good examples in the public sector. We should do it more often.