On Wednesday August 27th nearly 200 people were on hand for the dedication ceremony for the newest urban community garden and recreation area in Atlantic City. The Hamilton Memorial Community Garden welcomed the residents of Atlantic City and those that had put their time and energy into the project. With a ribbon cutting by local children and Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, the garden was celebrated along with the teamwork that brought its creation to be.
Talking with community members, all look forward to gardening at the new and improved site. Winter crops have already been started by seed and with the help of the Community Gardeners, on hand from the Richard Stockton College, they will be transplanted following the harvest of tomatoes and eggplants that are currently thriving. What is not far from everyone’s mind, despite the festivities of a dedication, is how will the garden be sustained in the future? Programming meetings are to be scheduled to discuss what strengths partners can now bring to the project to seek out new gardeners, teach gardening skills, what health messaging can be brought by the way of healthy eating demonstrations, etc. There is more to a garden than wood boxes, dirt and seeds. Partners do not forget that there is a lot of work yet to do!
With that on their minds, the community members and partners celebrated! When asked about what she thought about the project, Ms. Jefferson, an Atlantic City resident stated, “I’m just speechless when I saw this, this afternoon. Kind of brought tears to my eyes because it was a work of heart and work of dedication.”
With 32 community partners sponsoring their time and money to the project, the group was able to construct a playground, garden, gazebo, mural and an outdoor entertainment area.