Wednesday morning, work began on the  Alberta Parkway Gardens—a community project and recreation area for community children and a community-wide gardening opportunity, at the corner of 25th Ave E and 7th St E.

On Jan. 17, the United States Conference of Mayors and Scotts Miracle-Gro presented the City of Tuscaloosa the GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Grant Award at the USCM Winter.  The grant, valued at $25,000, includes a $15,000 cash award and $10,000 of in-kind product from Scotts Miracle-Gro.The green space will be located along the proposed Alberta Parkway and will encompass about 60,000 square feet of landscaping, sitting areas and community garden space.

“Alberta Parkway Gardens will help accomplish the City’s goal of a synergetic community working to achieve both a better and stronger foundation,” said Robin Edgeworth, director of recovery operations for the City of Tuscaloosa.

Mayor Maddox greeting elementary school students who came for the dedication of the Alberta Parkway Garden.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox addressed those that turned out in support of the project, which included area residents and elementary school students. The students were allowed to throw "seed balls" into the garden's adjacent field.  As the balls take root and grow, 7th St E residents will begin to see a beautiful display of wildflowers.

But the area's beautification doesn't just stop at the garden and adjacent lot. After the opening ceremony, volunteers also began planting lifted flower beds in the yards of the homes near the garden.

Even amid a cloudy sky with periods of rain, one could still feel the excitement in the air. The kids were excited, city leaders were excited, and area residents are excited.  One volunteer from the University of Alabama's SGA recounted hearing a young man saying that all four of the places where he was staying were destroyed during the tornado.  First of all, I can't imagine shuffling a child between four homes, but then, to have them ALL destroyed had to have been devastating. Yet, as the children attended the dedication ceremony, they seemed to anticipate that which is to come even amid the emptiness that surrounded them in some areas. We could learn a lot from them.