WARREN - Local volunteers and a church group are helping to beautify the city by adding gardens at former school sites and vacant properties.
Sheila Calko with Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership said a community garden was started off Laird Avenue at the site of the former Laird Avenue School, across from the Warren Water Department.
"This is one of our newest community gardens for the residents of the neighborhood. There are 20 individual raised gardening beds here," she said.
Calko said members of the Movement in Niles are helping with the garden throughout the summer and also volunteering in the nearby neighborhoods.
Jamie Hrbolich of the Movement said they are taking part in Project 330, in which church members adopt a block of Laird Avenue and surrounding streets to take care of and help residents.
"We will help take care of the community garden all summer. Members of the church had the option if they wanted to have a garden area. We want to help people grow fresh produce and vegetables for the surrounding families," she said.
Andrew Heller, outreach pastor with the Movement, said the community gardens will allow residents to grow their own vegetables.
He said Project 330 will take place every other Saturday as part Adopt-A-Block, working in a neighborhood picking up trash and helping residents as needed with things such as yard work and painting a house.
Calko said the gardens include Laird, Garfield, Roosevelt, Dickey, Central City Unity Garden and helping at the Victory Garden.
Matt Martin, director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, said the new sites this year for vegetable gardens in addition to the Laird School location also include the Tod's Crossing area off Tod Avenue.
He told a recent gathering of the Garfield Neighborhood Association that there are five gardens sites in the Garfield area of the city, including at the former Garfield School site.
On Saturday, a plant and seed giveaway will be held at the gardens. Materials for the raised beds must be paid for by the gardeners, Calko said.
Samuel Addai, a Youngstown State University student doing an internship with the gardening groups from the GROW program, said he has been able to assist with the raised beds.
Anyone interested in having a raised bed instead of a garden plot can call Calko at 330-881-7698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.