NEW BEDFORD, MA – Mayor Scott W. Lang, Ward 4 City Councilor Bruce Duarte, Jr. and the Serenity Garden Steering Committee invite friends, neighbors, and local officials to celebrate the unveiling of a new 30-bed organic community garden at the northwest corner of the former Morse Cutting Tools site. The event will take place Thursday, July 9th at 6:00PM at the corner of Bedford and South Sixth Streets.

The unveiling will complete months of planning and diligent work by the garden’s steering committee and their partners at City Hall and the Office of Housing and Community Development. The project was funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money and includes: 27 4x8 and three 4x16 raised beds filled with a certified organic soil mixture, a tool shed, pergola and seating, and ornamental planting beds. All 30 beds are spoken for, and more South Central neighbors have expressed interest, according to volunteer garden manager Joann Roderiques, who has been actively involved in the development of the garden since its inception. Ms. Roderiques is one of a dozen or so neighborhood residents who make up the Serenity Garden Steering Committee.

“I am very pleased that the City, in partnership with the community, has transformed this section of the former Morse Cutting Tools site into a community garden where residents will now have the ability to grow healthy fruits and vegetables to feed their families,” said Mayor Scott W. Lang.

“There has been a great deal of community interest in and support for this project throughout the process,” said Community Development Coordinator Christina Connelly. “The City launched a pilot community garden program last year, and today, with the energy and commitment of the neighborhood, we can see the results of the partnership between the City and the community,” she said.

Ward 4 Councilor Bruce Duarte, Jr., who represents the South Central neighborhood, concurs. “Going door-to-door in the neighborhood during my campaign and talking to people, one thing that kept coming up was the Morse site, and how it had stood unused for so long. Working with Pat Sullivan from the Office of Community Development as well as other City departments to create this garden for the people of that neighborhood has been a tremendous process—from the first public meeting until seeing the first plants in the beds. It reinforces the theme I campaigned on—that working together, the City and the neighborhoods—we can do great things.”

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is the largest federal program that provides grants to states, cities and counties to design neighborhood-based approaches to improve the physical, economic, and social conditions in communities throughout the country. The Serenity Garden project is the first community garden in New Bedford funded by the CDBG program, though CDBG funds were used for improvements to the Maxfield Street City Garden. It is also part of a larger Vacant Lot Restoration Program through which vacant lots throughout the City are being transformed into green spaces. The green spaces include the recently completed Ruth St. park and a planned pocket park on the corner of Acushnet Avenue and Nye St.

For additional information on the garden or on the CDBG Program please contact Christina Connelly, Community Development Coordinator at (508) 979-1500.