THE EPIC GARDENS IN YORK
Lifting up York City
A garden is more than a collection of plants; it is a community builder. This is why York XL wants to make “Welcome to York, The Garden City” the standard greeting by creating The EPIC Gardens in York. Both neighborhood residents and tourists will explore all of York City, including both neighborhoods and downtown areas, by following a network of organic, living, and teaching gardenscapes.
The EPIC Gardens in York will create a network of 10 gardenscapes that crisscross throughout the City of York that people can navigate using a mobile app. York XL staff will monitor each of the gardens through a closed circuit television network, allowing organizers to monitor the health and needs of each garden and provide more security cameras throughout the city.
Each gardenscape will include:
- Garden beds: Ten or more gardens with a unifying theme such as plant types, use, or art (e.g., native pollinators, rain gardens, or sculpture garden)
- Skill Building: The ability to learn a useful skill whose online curriculum will be accessed using QR codes (e.g., learning how to draw, learning how we interact with the built and natural environment, or making healthy recipes with the food grown in the gardens)
Economic Revitalization: A zoning-overlay that will allow York City neighborhood residents to start mobile businesses.
Integrated GIS: A mobile app that will lead residents and visitors alike through the different gardenscapes. The app will integrate with business location data to recommend York businesses to people as they walk around the city.
Programming: A gardenscape will be highlighted each month with programming such as poetry readings, performances, or block parties
We will demonstrate the EPIC Gardens on the Broad Street Greenway in the North East Neighborhood, as part of our EPIC Neighborhood strategy. The initial demonstration will include three gardens that will also serve as memorials for two firefighters who died as a result of a fire at the Weaver Piano Company adjacent to the Greenway. Later, we will extend the demonstration to the other gardens in the Greenway, including the three remaining plots at the corner of E Philadelphia & Broad Street. The Broad Street Greenway will be the signature gardenscape to introduce the different networks and infrastructures that are necessary to create empowered neighborhoods.
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A Fitting Tribute
Three professionally designed gardens will serve as a vibrant, living memorial to Ivan Flanscha and Zach Anthony, the firefighters who lost their lives in the fire at the Weaver Organ & Piano Company in 2018.
Gardens As A Way To Bring People Together
At York XL we talk about nurturing our city’s neighborhoods as hubs of resilience where people see pathways to successful lives. And grass-roots community revitalization is part of that. It’s important for community members to have opportunities to work together to build beautiful neighborhoods and to bring hope in the midst of tragedy.
Our homes, streets, and public spaces shape us in a powerful way. One’s perception of a community is often formed by looking at the vitality of its streets and surrounding areas. These public spaces are the physical embodiment of our culture, profoundly affecting the ways in which we think about ourselves and our fellow citizens. Therefore, we at York XL are committed to building places that inspire us to seek what is good, true, and beautiful and believe that creating beautiful gardens throughout York will significantly improve the quality of life for all of its residents.
We believe in radical transparency; in that spirit, here are our goals during the first year.
- Beautify the neighborhood:
- Create and connect the gardens in the Broad Street Greenway into a mini-gardenscape that demonstrates every aspect of the Gardens of York.
- Improve the health of the community and its residents:
- Create at least one edible community garden.
- Increase neighborhood safety:
- Install five cameras that feed into a closed-circuit TV network that will be monitored at York XL.
- Empower neighborhood residents by teaching them new skills and exposing them to new resources:
- Create a scope and sequence curriculum based on neighborhood input and make the curriculum accessible through QR codes at each garden.
- Host 8 community gatherings along the gardenscape.
- Increase tourism to the City of York and the number of tourists who visit neighborhoods outside the core downtown:
- Create a rudimentary mobile app with GPS to allow people to follow the path of the gardenscape.
- Enlist 5 business sponsors to be included in the app.
- Create 2 signature events to take place along the gardenscape.
- Leverage the gardenscapes to create economic opportunities for neighborhood residents:
- Work with the city to create zoning modification that will allow mobile businesses to open along the gardenscapes.
- Incubate 1 or more mobile businesses run by a city resident that will be located along the gardenscape.