The Albany Park Community Center has been working on building a rain garden at their location at 5101 N. Kimball. Around 60 volunteers pitched in over four days of hard work, the most recent of which was Saturday, Nov. 3.
Builders didn’t let the rain get in the way of their work, said Emma Carollo, volunteer coordinator.
“We had a tiny light rain here and there but that didn’t stop us, we worked right through it all,” she said in an email Saturday afternoon. “We had hot cocoa and tea inside for people to warm up.”
Three building days were held last week, with around 50-60 total volunteers. The project came to fruition thanks to a grant from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, in conjunction with funding from the Prince Charitable Trust, said Andy Nordstrom, Chief Development Officer for APCC.
“The grant is to put in sustainable rain gardens across the city, and they came to us and said, ‘we’d like to put one in Albany Park, and this corner would be a great place to do it.’” said Nordstrom.
He said the center looked into what the level of maintenance for the garden would be, discussed the possible effects it could have, and ultimately decided to move forward with the help of the community.
“We will be watering the garden over the next two weeks to let the plants soak in and even out,” said Carollo. “The next two weeks of watering is important.”
She said the center will host an opening ceremony in the spring and will invite all volunteers back to see the 595 plants they helped put in place.
The garden’s layout was planned by Bill Eyring, senior engineer at the Center for Neighborhood Technology, who has worked on various community gardens for more than 12 years. He took the time to show volunteers how and where to place plants.
Carollo said the project has seen volunteers from the community, North Park University, Best Buddies Illinois, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Harold Washington College’s National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, APCC students, APCC Head Start parents, APCC Adult Education volunteer tutors, and and more. Whole Foods Market Sauganash donated snacks and hot drinks for volunteers.
“We are very thankful for the dedication all of our volunteers have shown to make this project a huge success,” she said.