Over the course of a weekend a once vacant lot on the corner of 6th and Garfield became fertile ground for beauty and science. As we mentioned in our post last week, this past weekend volunteers, organizers, and even a couple politicians gathered for the planting of Valley of the Sunflowers.
Not too long ago, Sean Sweat, an Intel employee, met with some friends and discussed the potential for this lot. Luckily, he was talking to the right people. Kenny Barrett and Cindy Dach, of the Roosevelt Row CDC, and Braden Kay of the ASU Global Institute for Sustainability are good friends to have when you’ve got big ideas.
RRCDC is a non-profit downtown which promotes the interests of the downtown community by supporting public events and fostering urban renewal. Kay introduced the project to Bioscience High School, which also overlooks the lot. Bioscience High is currently building a biodiesel car, and was conveniently looking for a source of oil.
With help from the Roosevelt CDC and two start-up grants from Intel, They were able to propose his plans for a temporary sunflower field to the City. The hope of this and many other revitalization efforts is not only too beautiful but bring business downtown.
Of course the City was hesitant at first, but because VOS already had the plans and the money, it didn’t take long for the city to get on board. Because the project was temporary and funded, the city leased the lot to Valley of the
Sunflowers for free, putting it on the fast track to realization.
It was the “temporary” use of the lot made this project possible. The lot is currently allocated to the Arizona Cancer Center, which plans to start construction in the next two years. Until construction begins the two acre lot will be put to good use by VOS. They are planning two grow cycles, keeping stick notes and directions, so this project can be recreated again.
So how can you help? Well they’re still looking for an oil press and a tractor, if you’ve got one lying around. If not you can donate time through the RRCDC website or head to their kick starter page and donate to the cause.