File Photo: Steve Thurston
Joyce Harris needs help.
Harris, the Teen Afterschool Program director at the Lubber Run Community Center, has an idea to improve part of Lubber Run Park. She wants to remove a rotting, wooden boat that had been used as a flower garden. She has applied for a Park Enhancement Grant to replace it with another boat, this one made of durable brick.
On Thursday, she got feedback from county staff and the Park and Recreation Commission that she would have to show more community support for her idea by this Friday, when the final application is due.
“They want letters of support by then,” she said in a telephone interview. “They wanted a community group to support it.”
Yesterday, she sent an email to all the community groups and people she has contact with asking that people write letters supporting the $7,000 project.
The project draws together a few different threads.
It begins with a tree that was planted years ago to memorialize the life of a teenager who died when hit by a drunk driver. That tree was planted in the northern end of Lubber Run Park, on the edge of an open field.
Years later, when the Arlington Mill Community Center construction was getting underway on Columbia Pike, a rowboat was found on that property. It had been built by teens at that center.
Not knowing what else to do with the boat, in 2008, county staff brought it to Lubber Run Park. Teens painted it with positive messages telling kids to stay off drugs and stay in school, and then filled it with soil and flowers.
Since then two things happened: the boat has fallen to disrepair and the Lubber Run Amphitheater has been rebuilt. As more people came to the amphitheater this year, they walked past the boat.
“People have been walking by and saying ‘Why is that rotten boat sitting there?’,” Harris said.
Her idea--she calls it the “Green Boat Project” and thinks of it as a circle of life--would rebuild the boat of brick and recycled materials, surround it with a circle of paver stones and incorporate it into the space of the memorial tree. Two park benches will be part of the setting. The bricks will not rot, and a local contractor has agreed to donate the bricks, she said.
Also, the location will become a place where master gardeners can teach people--the general public and students. Three classes, a total of $800, are planned for the coming year, two on the weekend, one afterschool. It really is for the community, she said.