No Brad Pitt.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
But the local philanthropic effort of Pitts Make It Right Foundation launched Saturday at the old Bancroft Elementary School.
The first scoops of dirt were turned, with architects, planners and city officials present. Pitts involvement, via his foundation, will bring much attention to the project, slated to be among the most comprehensive of attempts to breathe new life and usefulness into closed school buildings.
But heres a nod to a valiant, lesser known effort a few blocks away.
Unlike the Bancroft project, the Center City Neighborhood is not part of the Green Impact Zone.
Its an inventive, 12-square block neighborhood of about 100 homes, including new, young families.
Half of a city block between Tracy and Forest Avenues at about 33rd Street is an orchard.
Well, it has saplings with fruitful intentions. Three years of growth will be necessary before they bear fruit, intended for anyone who wants to pick the fresh produce.
More than 90 trees were planted this summer apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and a few pecan trees. Its the third such orchard in the city. One is on the West Side and another is east of Troost Lake.
Eddie Tapper, president of Center City Neighborhood, envisions a green belt of sorts, with orchards eventually filling many of the lots east of Troost.
Only a few of the Center City apple trees are without leaves, struggling after the hot summer.
Permission was given to tap a nearby fire hydrant to help with the watering. At first, keeping all of the trees roots sufficiently drenched took more than six hours a day.
Later, a better system was developed, reducing watering time to less than an hour. Lines of plastic pipe attached to garden hoses form a grid around the trees. Blue plastic buckets are sunk into the ground beside each tree, holes drilled into their bottoms. Water in the buckets feeds directly to the tree roots.
The Bancroft project promises a lot a mobile medical clinic, a technology lab, an auditorium and gymnasium, along with community gardens and neighborhood association office space. Thats in addition to the main use, affordable housing.
Its an all-encompassing effort that will meet a lot of needs within the area.
Center City is also targeting some of the same ideas, just in far less grand scale.
Intervention of Hollywood royalty is nice to revitalize Kansas Citys older neighborhoods.
But other, homegrown efforts are also necessary. And just as noteworthy.
And it can be as simple as planting a tree, or 90 of them.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.