EDITORíS DESK: A beautiful day in the neighborhood

       That was a magnificent achievement at the Westside Community Center last Saturday, Oct. 16. While saws buzzed and scores of volunteers strode about with orchestrated purpose, raised garden beds began appearing on the hardpan outside the facility. The former playground for Buena Vista Elementary children, it had taken on a rather bleak and useless aspect since the school was relocated to make room for the center a year and a half ago. Now it's not even a fantasy to visualize colorful, leafy, tasty plant life breaking the surface of the rich soil that's been put into the beds atop the ground.
       How did all this happen? Certainly, we are very fortunate on the Westside to have drawn the interest of Larry Stebbins, talented head of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, who has become a kind of Johnny Appleseed in terms of starting community gardens, administering them until plot-renters develop their own leadership, then moving on to another fertile locale. No question, his gardens have proven popular (waiting lists in all cases and you should see how many people turn out for his classes), and the center's new "Cadillac" garden, as Stebbins described it, will probably fill up speedily as well.
       But possibly an even more provocative element is the energy that the Woodmen Valley Chapel has been pouring into the community center. It's not just the monetary investment by the northern Colorado Springs church to transform a sporadically active site (the way it was when the city ran it) into something vital for Westsiders. I don't know the dollar totals and I haven't asked. To me, the real key is the people investment - Oct. 16 is not the first time Woodmen has mobilized for the center, complete with free-food mobile kitchen. What we are seeing is a church that truly wants to help make things better here, with no strings attached. And by golly, they're succeeding.

- K.J.