The Issue: Lack of Safe Outdoor Spaces for Urban Youths
In the North Lawndale community, located on Chicago’s west side, there are anywhere from 950 to 1,000 vacant city-owned lots, according to data from University of Illinois at Chicago. Although many of these lots have been unmaintained for decades, residents of the Avers block have reclaimed three of them. Once full of trash and broken glass, these lots now comprise the Avers Community Garden, the cornerstone of the neighborhood's efforts to provide safe spaces for their children to play.
Currently, the garden includes a gravel path where kids can ride their bikes, but with the addition of playground equipment, neighborhood children will have more opportunities for exercise and play.
The Campaign: Building Playground Equipment
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Avers Community Garden to purchase outdoor playground equipment. The first $510 raised will be used for a double chin-up bar, and additional funds will go towards more play equipment for the garden. Greenbush Brewing Company will match donations up to a $500 total.
All donations will be matched up to a $500 total by Greenbush Brewing Company.
Avers Community Garden
Some might view an empty city lot overrun with broken bottles, weeds, and loiterers as an eyesore to be avoided. Karen Trout and Laura Michel saw it as an opportunity for action. Thanks to these women, three empty lots—located on the corner of Avers Avenue and Cermak Road in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood—became the Avers Community Garden, a project that won first prize in Placemaking Chicago's 2012 Space in Between contest.
In addition to flourishing gardens where residents grow their own produce, the space hosts educational after-school and summer programs for neighborhood children. These kids help maintain the garden by picking up trash, watering plants, and pulling weeds—but they also have plenty of time to play, thanks to a gravel bike track and, in the future, safe playground equipment.