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Archives for July 30, 2013

Gardening Tips: Culinary Herb Garden

Cooking from scratch may not always be a possibility, but many cuisine-conscious cooks who know their way around the kitchen love to relax at home by producing something truly unique, with their signature stamped all over it, when time allows. To do this, a high-quality, taste-delivering culinary herb garden is a tremendous asset. Let’s begin by looking at the essential herbs you might want to consider for your garden.

Gardening Tips: Culinary Herb Garden

Here’s a list that will add zest to any recipe:

1. Bay: Start with one plant, indoors or outdoors as weather permits. Grow it in a large pot, 8 inches or more, so the progress of its roots will not be impeded. With a bit of experimenting, you’ll find many uses for Bay that will enhance your culinary efforts.

2. Sweet Fennel: Start with two plants and divide it when ready. Prune/harvest the leaves often, and it will keep producing faithfully. This tasty herb has been used to rave reviews for centuries, and will add just the right touch of sweet and savory spice to soups, sauces, and baked meats.

3. Dill: Start one or two plants each month, so you’ll have a regular supply of this useful herb throughout the year. If you love to can your fresh vegetables, grow plenty of dill, to add tang to cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans. Added to creamy sauces and soups in the quantity you choose, it creates something special out of ordinary main ingredients.

4. Sweet Basil: . Add some fresh pasta, an Italian sausage or two, and enjoy! Any savory dish will taste better with the addition of this popular herb. Five to seven plants are a good start.

5. Oregano: Start with 2 to 4 plants, because you’ll always find something new to add this herb to. Soups, casseroles featuring tomato bases, baked meats, and crock-pot stews will all sparkle with a tasty touch of this versatile herb.

Round out your culinary herb garden with thyme, winter savory, rosemary, and mint, and you’ll never lack a way to spice up a mundane meal and make it something memorable. As you gain experience you’ll want to add the herbs that grab your fancy. Each time you enjoy a flavorsome meal in one of your favorite restaurants, let your server know you’d love to compliment the chef. When he or she appears, offer robust praise, and then, under your breath, ask what herbs created such a culinary delight. The secrets you coax from them will translate into wonderful taste experiences at home. Herbs deliver a sensuous ambience to any meal that nothing else can add. Developing a first-rate culinary herb garden will take time, patience, and experimentation, but most great cooks find this investment in great recipes to be very rewarding, relaxing, and creatively fun.

When you grow more than you can use, trade herbs with your other gardening friends, or simply give away your over-abundance to those who will appreciate it. Drying, freezing, and storing your herbs is another great idea, so you’ll have them available even in winter, even when not growing an indoor herb garden. Most herbs dry very well on the stem, but tarragon, parsley, and basil also freeze very nicely. With a little planning, you’ll enjoy the best herb flavors throughout the year!

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Resident Gardening Expert at English Woodlands Offers Top Tips for Summer …

With the sun out and summer growth peaking, keeping plants cut back and trim has never been more important. This season Graham Grimmett, English Woodlands’ resident gardening expert, is sharing his Top Tips for summer pruning.

(PRWEB UK) 29 July 2013

The East Sussex based retailer of specimen trees, hedging and accessories, English Woodlands, have been suppliers of high grade trees and planting accessories since 1918. The business has established a strong reputation across both the South East and nationally across England for their wide range and high quality large trees. Well known and respected for their high plant survival rates, the friendly team’s extensive product knowledge is built from a genuine passion for helping our customers grow and create magnificent gardens.

One particular member of the English Woodlands team, Graham Grimmett, has gardening credentials that speak for themselves. As the Specimen Tree Centre Manager, Graham is a regular blogger for English Woodlands and offers seasonal tips every month through the English Woodlands monthly newsletter. With garden enthusiasts requesting advice regularly both at the nursery and online, this week Graham tackles the popular and often asked for topic regarding effective Summer Pruning of fruit trees.

“Traditionally, formative pruning of apple and pear trees takes place during the winter so that the structure of the tree is clearly visible. Summer pruning is usually the main method for trained apples and pears such as cordons, fans and espaliers which are pruned to a restricted area. However summer pruning is also important for free standing trees as it helps to restrict growth and to facilitate training without needing to cut old wood.”

Summer pruning for free standing trees is extremely advantageous, Graham outlines four key reasons why:

1.    It allows fruit to ripen better as the removal of excess foliage enables extra light to reach the fruit.

2.    It will facilitate the tree to produce a good crop the subsequent year.

3.    The weather is usually better in the summer!

4.    The plants are still growing so pruning cuts heal quickly.

Some useful signposts as to when particular fruit trees should be pruned in the summer include; Pear trees are best tended to and pruned neatly around mid-July; Apple trees in mid-August; Plum and Cherries should only be pruned on a dry day in mid-summer to avoid the fungal disease silver leaf.

Graham offers some further useful pruning tips on how best to tackle fruit trees and specifically apples and pears.

  •     The trees should only be pruned when the oldest third of the new shoots has started to get woody and stiff.
  •     Cut back the new shoots that are longer than 9 inches/23cm as the shorter growth is likely to bear fruit buds naturally.
  •     Shoots should be pruned back to a stub around 3 inches in length. You should ensure that you make the cut just above a bud or leaf.
  •     Find out if the apple tree is a tip bearing variety before pruning- be careful not to prune new shots which will form fruit buds.

For more advice on how to prune trees during the summer months, visit the online advice centre at English Woodlands, or contact the helpful staff at English Woodlands by emailing info(at)ewburrownursery(dot) or calling on 01435 862992. Interested parties can always take a look through to, where tips on summer pruning, foliage, and much more are regularly updated.

Don’t forget to take advantage of current offers online at English Woodland which includes 20% off Rite Edge Lawn Edging, 25% off Borderline Steel Tree Rings and the chance to save 20% on all olive and fig trees. Simply visit the promotions category to find a voucher card and add it to the shopping basket.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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The Potted Desert Garden: Five Tips for Beautiful Summer Blooms

We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that vinca are great plants for our summer desert potted gardens.

In almost any nursery, you’ll find upright vinca, or “pacifica.” These are strong flowering plants that will survive both moderately cool temperatures and desert heat … provided they have enough water.

To the right, you can see what some vinca, planted on July 15, looked like. Above is what they look like after two weeks of blistering temperatures. That’s a lot of growth!

Here are five tips to utilizing this plant—even if you are just starting them in August:

1. Purchase four-inch, quart or gallon plants, with the plant showing good growth, and lots of roots. (Check this at the nursery if you do not see the roots coming out of the bottom.)

2. Plant vinca in the coolest hours of the early morning. Do not heavily disturb their roots but do open up the root ball before planting.

3. Water thoroughly after planting, and water them daily when dry.

4. As vinca grow, the branches will become very long. In order to encourage the plants to bush out more, trim them back often.

5. Looking down the stem, find a new growth shoot, and snip the stem just above that shoot. (See below.) Go deep into the plant to prune for best results. This will create a nicely shaped plant with abundant flowers.

Marylee is the desert’s potted garden expert. Email her with comments and questions at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Garden award for top tips on security

Garden award for top tips on security

Garden award for top tips on security

A CRIME-CUTTING show garden has clinched an award for its role in helping to keep residents safe from crooks.

The secure garden was set up at Parker’s Garden Centre in Kirby Cross last year.

It is a model garden displaying the top steps residents can take to secure their homes against burglars.

The secure garden initiative, which was put together by the crime prevention team at Clacton police station, has now been handed a top internal award by Essex Police for its innovative approach in tackling burglaries in the area.

They have scooped the Ray Stannard Memorial Trophy, handed out for displays of excellence in crime prevention within the force.

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Gardening the Kiawah Way, Naturally!

By Jennifer Woody

Do you know the best part of all the rain we have been getting? The Naturally Kiawah Garden is well watered!

Plant installation in the Naturally Kiawah Garden, a joint project with Kiawah Island Golf Resort and Kiawah Conservancy, is complete. So, Run, walk or bike out to Night Heron Park today and see how the Kiawah Conservancy is growing.
Funded by an anonymous grant and donors to the Kiawah Conservancy, the Naturally Kiawah Garden project has garnered Island-wide support. The Garden showcases native plants and plants that respond well to the diverse conditions of Kiawah Island’s environs and will be used as a learning opportunity for property owners and guests alike.

Trident Technical College’s Landscape Design program offered students an initial garden design contest, and department head, Professor Tony Bertauski, implemented the design contest as a summer project for his design class. Landscape Architect, Bill Maneri, served as the students mentor throughout the process and used the winning designs as an inspiration for the final garden plans.
To learn more about native and habitat friendly plantings in your own landscape and the science behind the Naturally Kiawah Garden project, contact Justin Core, Kiawah Conservancy’s Land Preservation Coordinator, at 768-2029 or
Make sure to “Like” Kiawah Conservancy on Facebook and follow KiawahConserv on Twitter
for more photos and information on this exciting addition in the coming days, weeks and months.



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New vision unveiled for downtown Mitchell

Talk about it

    Mitchell Main Street Beyond unveiled a $5.8 million plan Monday to transform Mitchell’s historic downtown area.

    After years of research and planning, MMSB presented its vision for a new downtown streetscape the group says will add vibrancy and enhance the quality of life in the downtown district. MMSB presented the plan first at an 8 a.m. members-only meeting in the lobby of the Midtown Plaza building and later at a 2 p.m. press conference at The Depot. No funding has been acquired yet for the plan.

    “It’s a smart, economic design that can only increase our viability as the community hub while giving others another great reason to visit Mitchell,” said MMSB Board President Carrie English in a news release.

    MMSB worked with the Brookings architectural firm designArc to develop the streetscape plan. The group also worked with AcV2, a Rapid City firm, that studied funding opportunities for historic properties, and James Valley Nursery, a Mitchell company, for the landscape design.

    The plan, which encompasses 32 acres in downtown Mitchell, would add curb extensions, with trees and native landscaping, on Main Street from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue. Other proposed additions on Main Street include benches, sitting walls, bike racks, information kiosks and public art displays.

    Traffic lights at Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth avenues would be replaced with stop signs, and extra parking spaces would be gained by adding diagonal parking to one side of Main Street. According to Les Rowland, of designArc, Mitchell’s Main Street isn’t wide enough to allow for diagonal parking on both sides. No Main Street parking spots would be lost in the switch to diagonal parking, Rowland added.

    Wider mid-street and end-of-street pedestrian crossings would also be added to increase foot traffic and make the area safer for pedestrians.

    A downtown plaza, which would be at the south end of Main Street where a public parking lot is currently located at Railroad and Main, would include an outdoor amphitheater and natural playground, plus water features, public art displays and seating areas. The area could be used for outdoor concerts, festivals and other events, in addition to day-to-day use by residents and tourists, the group said.

    “It’s the perfect bookend to an already famous landmark like the Corn Palace,” Matt Culhane, owner of the Thunderbird Lodge and a streetscape committee member, said in the news release. “It’s something that will draw tourists and residents alike farther south, all while improving traffic flow to our downtown merchants.”

    The plan also includes an option to close Main Street between First and Railroad to traffic and create a pedestrians-only area, according to MMSB Director Molly Goldsmith.

    John Foster, owner of The Depot, which is located directly south of the plaza’s proposed location, said the plans will make downtown more inviting.

    “It will be more pleasant and green,” Foster said in the release. “That will make a huge difference not only for us, but for other merchants and those living, or who want to live, in downtown Mitchell.”

    Rowland and Lynda Pierce, both of designArc, said they based the streetscape design on community input — public meetings on the project were held last year — and by assessing downtown Mitchell’s needs.

    “The health of a community is really represented by what their downtown is like,” Pierce said.

    The entire design — both the plaza and street improvements — is meant to complement the Corn Palace by promoting tourism, but is also meant to bring locals back downtown, Pierce said.

    “To really encourage people to park downtown, bike downtown, and just walk and explore,” she said.

    A number of funding options are being considered for the $5.8 million project, including municipal, state and federal funds, as well as donations and grants, Goldsmith said at Monday’s press conference. At this point, no money has been secured for the project.

    “We’re definitely looking for it,” Goldsmith said.

    The project could be completed in phases, Pierce said, starting with the plaza at a cost of $2.1 million. After that, individual blocks on Main Street from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue could be completed for $425,000 each, she said. In that same five-block area of Main Street, the east-west blocks between Lawler Street and Rowley Street could be renovated for $270,000 per block, Pierce said.

    “That allows Mitchell Main Street Beyond to go out and get those funds,” she said.

    MMSB is planning to ask the city of Mitchell to contribute money for the project, Goldsmith said.

    “We consider this project a community project,” she said.

    The group intends to present its plan at the next Mitchell City Council meeting Monday.

    Funding the project will likely take a cooperative effort between the city and downtown businesses, Mitchell Mayor Ken Tracy said in an interview Monday.

    “I think that, overall, it would certainly improve our Main Street,” Tracy said. “I’m excited about it.”

    Tracy mentioned Rapid City’s business improvement district, which was created in 2010 to help pay for downtown projects including a public plaza, as an example of how downtown projects like this can be funded. A business improvement district is a self-taxation arrangement in which businesses agree to pay a fee, with the money going toward specific developments.

    Tracy said the city’s bonding capacity is limited because of the $13.9 million in bonds it sold in December and January to fund four major projects — a renovation of the Corn Palace and conversion of the attached City Hall to tourism space, the construction of a new city hall, the addition of a second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center, and an expansion and renovation of the Mitchell Public Library.

    “We’ll just have to take a look at it and see what types of funding we can come up with,” Tracy said.

    MMSB is not planning to ask for funding from downtown businesses for the project itself, but may seek a business improvement district (BID) to pay for maintenance once the streetscape is completed, said English, the group’s board president, at the press conference.

    A public parking lot would be removed and used as space for the plaza, but two nearby parking lots — one to the north at Navin Apartments and one to the south at The Depot — would remain. Despite one less lot, there should still be more than enough parking available in the area, Culhane said at Monday’s press conference.

    “There are places for them to go,” Culhane said. “So you’re not actually eliminating the space you might think.”

    No specific timeline for the project was offered at Monday’s press conference. In an interview after the press conference, Goldsmith said progress will largely depend on when funding is secured.

    “We wanted to create an area that would benefit every citizen of this city,” Culhane said in the release. “In doing so, we think this project has the potential to spawn new ideas and possibilities that many of us might have thought not possible here.”

    Reaction to MMSB’s plan was positive following the members-only meeting Monday morning.

    “I think it will bring a sense of community,” said Paula Platz, of Mitchell. “It will be a place that people want to be.”

    By changing the streetscape, Mitchell’s historic downtown area will be more inviting, Platz said.

    Bobbie Clark, also of Mitchell, said the changes could add a cultural vibe to the downtown area.

    “It’s going to make all ages feel welcome there,” she said. “I look forward to the things it will make possible for us.”

    life, news, updates, downtown, business, mitchell

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    Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park

    Balboa Park visitors now have a place to sit when they visit the Plaza de Panama.

    City workers placed 17 tables with chairs and umbrellas in the plaza early Monday. The city plans to add about five more tables and a series of planters in coming weeks, city spokesman Bill Harris said Monday.

    The new furniture comes nearly two months after workers kicked cars out of the plaza.

    The future of the plaza has long been a topic of fierce debate. After we highlighted a conversation about the space’s potential as “Starbucks Central,” others weighed in with their own ideas.

    • Beau Lynott, a VOSD contributor:

    What it should not be is a commercialized space, for Starbucks or any other private vendor. There are plenty of urban planners and landscape architects that would be happy to volunteer ideas for the plaza. Maybe seating areas with potted plants/temporary landscaping. Something that allows people to congregate and can be cleared for events.

    • Oscar Ramos:

    If there is going to be a commercial presence, it should be a local one. I would love to see outdoor furniture, plants, performance spaces, etc., along with cafes and food stalls, even if only temporary (what about a corner of the plaza where we can have a food truck rotation?). But no Starbucks – it isn’t even good coffee.

    • Amy Roth, who originally suggested the “Starbucks Central” idea:

    Obviously I didn’t mean “Starbucks” literally! I meant it as a metaphor for a comfy home-away-from home-like setting where you could have a snack or drink, read a book or newspaper or electronic device, meet friends even! Any of the ideas that have been submitted would be terrific in my opinion.

    • Randy Dotinga, a VOSD contributor:

    New York City’s Bryant Park would be a good model … many small tables with chairs where people can work, soak up the sun or chat, plus a few food vendors. As for Starbucks: They have air conditioning, reliable wi-fi and (sometimes) comfy chairs. It’s hard to find an independent coffeehouse with all three, at least in SD. I’ve been to almost all of them (such is the fate of a work-at-home type) and can think of one that meets all those criteria.

    • Don Wood:

    The ferry piers in Tiburon, Calif., comes to mind. Every weekend, they put out tables and a local restaurant serves people breakfast on the pier. It’s very popular with the locals and people come on the ferry from all over the Bay Area to eat there. The key would be for the city to select the right restaurant operator to team up with a local coffee shop operator to activate the plaza. This option should be looked at as part of city’s staff’s own study of the space.

    • Felix Tinkov:

    The key for me would be to ensure that nothing permanently be placed in the view corridor along the length of El Prado.

    • Peter Schrock:

    What is it about California that makes us allergic to open space?

    Maybe we should take a closer look at the Piazza San Marcos in Venice, the Zócalo in Mexico City, or (dare I say it) Red Square in Moscow for inspiration. All of these are powerful cultural landmarks made up of mostly empty space.

    • Kevin Swanson:

    Why not create something truly unique to San Diego? Hardscape materials now exist that clean the air when exposed to sunlight, and are self-cleaning. Use those materials to create a “picture” when seen from the air and patterns on the ground. Inscribe on those pavers “dreams” in pictographs or words. Install a QR code and number that links to a database holding information about the author of the dream and additional information.Make Balboa Park’s plazas and walkways one big canvas for the public. If the pavers are made of interlocking design, “locked” to a grid underneath, and allow for water to percolate between them, the “picture” created by the colored pavers could be changed to match an annual theme for the park. How to pay for it? A “Donations for A Dream” campaign.

    “Hardscape” on a grid that has electrical, water, and sewage connections running underneath that could be accessed as necessary for events and activities.

    Balboa Park was built as a “City of Dreams” in 1915. Why not truly make it one?

    Use of a grid underneath the paving system would allow for removable growing sections as part of the changing landscape of dreams.

    Comments have been lightly edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us here

    Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter for Voice of San Diego and Dagny Salas is the web editor. You can reach them directly at and

    Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donateto keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

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    Do it yourself landscapes: Ideas, tips and advice for Southern California …

    This article has suggestions for landscaping in Southern California.

    Water is the most important consideration when planning to landscape your yard, as in how to minimize the use of water. Southern California in its natural state is a semi-arid desert. Since Southern California goes through periods of drought and imports most of its water, it makes sense ecologically to use as little water as possible. And, it saves money on your water bill.

    Ideas, tips and advice for southern california landscaping

    Grass is a big water hog. Some experts say that grass needs about an inch of water every week. This might not seem like a lot, but multiply one inch times the square footage of all of the grass in your yard, then add in some more for hand watering brown spots, and finally throw in more water for runoff, and you have probably used more water than you realize. If you have a 10 by 20 foot lawn, you should be using a minimum of 2,400 inches of water a week to keep your grass green. That is a lot of bathtubs full of water! Does this mean that you have to give up your grass? No. But, you might want to reduce the area of your traditional lawn by planting combinations of low water drinking grasses like Blue Wildrye, Buffalo Grass, Bear Grass, Blue Oat Grass, or Giant Feather Grass. Planting these grasses will not only save on your water usage, you will be also be spending less time mowing and you will be making your yard more visually interesting by varying the textures, the colors and the heights of your grasses.

    What about flowering plants? Sages do not require a lot of water, have different colored flowers, and are also fragrant. Look into Baja Blanco Cedros Island Sage, Black Sage, or Creeping Sage. What about flowers that attract hummingbirds? California Fuchsias, Royal Beard Tongues, and Bladder Pods do not require huge amounts of water and attract hummingbirds. How about plants that attract butterflies? Try Baja Fairy Dusters, Golden Yarrow, or Hearst California Lilacs and save on water. Don’t forget California Poppies. Add some White California Poppies for a nice annual bed.

    What about a cactus or a succulent garden? Cacti like the Barrel Cactus, the Blue Blade, and the Hildemann Cactus have contrasting shapes, colors, and flowers, and all three like part sun and part shade. Your succulent garden might combine Chalk Dudleya, Colorado Four o’Clock, Felt Plant, Purple Stonecrop, and Medicinal Aloe, all presenting different shapes and sizes. Some of these succulents will even attract more hummingbirds. You might also consider combining your succulents and cacti to give the area a more exotic look.

    Now that you have different areas of interest in your yard, put in stepping stones to go from one area to the next. Or, plan a rock path to a shady tree and put a bench underneath to catch the evening breeze. And since you are saving so much water, you might want to install a wall fountain so that you can hear the soothing sounds of gentle splashing when you are at home.

    Water is a precious resource in Southern California. You will be saving water and money by changing your plants to ones that require less water, not to mention saving some mowing time. Remember to turn on those sprinklers in the morning and in the evening, but not during the middle of the day to maximize the amount of water that actually can be used by your plants and minimize evaporation. Enjoy your new yard.

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    Bay City Garden Club wrapping up construction at Kantzler Arboretum in …

    BAY CITY, MI — Four years after planning began, a Bay City Garden Club project to expand the Kantzler Arboretum wraps up this week in Veterans Memorial Park.

    The project includes the planting of new trees, installation of pathways and a new kiosk with a future hanging garden. The arboretum is located along John F. Kennedy Drive on the city’s West Side.

    “I’m incredibly excited to have the whole new structure complete,” said Deb Holbein, project chairwoman and garden club member.

    The arboretum expansion began last summer when new drainage was added, cement for pathways was poured and grass was seeded.

    “The project has taken a little longer (than planned), but all good things come in time,” said Jerry Somalski, owner of Bay Landscaping, 1630 SE Boutell in Essexville.

    Bay Landscaping is one of the contractors and organizers that have contributed time to the project, which Somalski said is a great addition to the Bay City parks system.

    The total costs for the arboretum-improvement project was $170,500, which was funded through grants, donations and contributions from the garden club. The club secured $100,000 last year, with the remaining costs coming this year through the Kantzler Foundation, the Russell and Maxine Smith Foundation and additional contributions from the club.

    The most notable addition to the arboretum is the Kantzler Interpretive Center, a kiosk with an extending pergola. The tall, tin-sided kiosk features a copper roof and has wooden beams extending from the roof, which will feature a hanging garden. Nine plaques that tell the history of the arboretum are expected to be placed on the kiosk in September. The entire structure has a diameter of 30 feet.

    Employees of Cherry Builders, 7187 N. Portsmouth, were working on the wooden beams on the interpretive center on Monday, July 29.

    “Today should be our last day if everything goes good,” said Dave Wisniewski, co-owner of Cherry Builders.

    All that’s left to do to is some work on the interpretive center, a little bit of landscaping around the kiosk and some lawn work, Somalski said.

    “It’s incredible when you just stand out on John F. Kennedy Drive. Before you couldn’t tell an arboretum was there. Now, the new structure is big and it draws more attention to it,” Holbein said.

    The project included the addition of new sidewalks, drainage, grating, seeding, tree planting, the interpretive center, benches and lights.

    “The garden club itself worked hard for a lot of years to make this project happen and we want to thank the community for supporting us,” Holbein said.

    The club has met its financial goal for the project, but is still accepting donations for the arboretum in the form of trees, pocket gardens or memorials. Those interested in donating or installing a memorial can call Holbein at 989-245-5508.

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    After years of planning, final draft of Lathrop Homes revealed

    The Chicago Housing Authority will unveil to the public Tuesday night a new vision for redeveloping the Lathrop Homes public housing complex, officials said.

    Though the plan focuses on preserving some of the existing historic buildings and landscaping, it also calls for overhauling the sprawling development.

    The agency will keep at least 17 of the original low-rise structures but completely gut those buildings and revamp their interiors, the plans show. Then it will construct dozens of buildings and retail spaces that reflect the site’s original design.

    “It’s a plan we thoroughly believe can happen,” said Michael Jasso, the CHA’s chief development officer.

    “It’s been a long process. … We feel this is a doable plan,” said Jacques Sandberg, vice president of Related Midwest, a firm partnering with the CHA to develop the proposal. “We’re off to the races and can’t wait to put shovels into the ground.”

    The proposal unveiling and the latest public hearing is another step in a process of determining just how Lathrop Homes will finally look. There is no set date for construction, but officials hope to finish the planning process this year and break ground in 2015, Jasso said.

    Situated on the borders of Bucktown and Roscoe Village, Lathrop is a sprawling, handsome, historic brick complex along the Chicago River. One of the last public housing developments on the North Side, it is surrounded by expensive homes and upscale shopping outlets.

    For more than a decade, the CHA has been working to redevelop Lathrop Homes into a mixed-income community as part of its overall Plan for Transformation. While the idea of demolishing worn, decaying structures that crowded thousands of poor residents in one location has been praised in other areas of Chicago, the plans for Lathrop have been highly criticized.

    Community activists, some housing agencies and current Lathrop residents oppose the CHA’s plan because it will offer market-rate housing in a neighborhood flooded with higher-income households. Many fear that revamping Lathrop will eventually push out lower-income residents from a neighborhood struggling with economic and racial diversity.

    It would also bring more traffic and congestion and possibly destroy buildings that have been praised for their architectural significance.

    “The plans that we’ve seen are a step forward from what we saw in the past, but it doesn’t save enough of the complex,” said Ward Miller, president of Preservation Chicago, which advocates saving historic architecture. Because Lathrop was built in the 1930s by architects such as Robert DeGolyer and Hugh Garden, Miller thinks more of the complex should be preserved.

    “Lathrop should be saved almost in its entirety,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of great things that could happen with the right type of sensitive development.”

    The way Lathrop is now designed, with ample green space, walking paths and gardens, is what the CHA is trying to emulate at its newer mixed-income sites, Miller said. That’s reason to renovate the buildings but keep the housing stock the same, he said.

    There are 925 apartments at the Lathrop site, but the bulk of the complex is vacant.

    Under the new plan, only 400 units at Lathrop would be held for public housing residents. Another 504 apartments would be sold at market rate. The remaining 212 units would be leased to low-income tenants.

    For the current Lathrop residents, the process of determining how the complex will be transformed has been an emotional and frustrating ride. For years they have endured long meetings with complicated jargon and sudden changes on where they’re allowed to live.

    Several tenant leaders have complained that community and residential input is not valued. Residents don’t want market-rate units or retail development, but the CHA continues to include both as part of the plan, saying they are committed to integrating the housing complex.

    On Tuesday, when the master plan is revealed, the entire community will be given an opportunity to speak about the designs. But only refinements to the current mark-ups will be considered, Jasso said.

    The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the New Life Community Church, 2958 N. Damen Ave.

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