Run-down lot transformed into community sunflower garden under Blight to Bright Initiative
BATON ROUGE - At the corner of North 25th Street and Florida Avenue, drivers may notice some colorful changes to a formerly run-down property.
"People will say it's a ray of hope," said Tara Wicker, CEO of The W Consulting Group.
Wicker, with a lot of help, was able to transform a blighted lot into a sunflower garden.
"It was so bad that the weeds were so overgrown. There were cars in there, you couldn't even see the cars," Wicker said.
The project is part of the Blight to Bright Initiative. Wicker and other community members plan to clean nine more blighted properties, transforming them into gardens. The next one won't be too far from the first.
"We have one that is going to be on 24th Street. Another young man that grew up in the neighborhood, his mom lived there. She passed away, and there is a lot next door," Wicker said.
Saturday, Wicker dedicated the garden to the woman who lived across the street, Mrs. Jessie Mae Woodard.
"She's been gone about two and a half years now. Since then, it's been hard, but she continues to live on through the legacy and lessons she taught us and everyone in the community," said Woodard's great-granddaughter, Miracle Gaines.
Those who grew up in the neighborhood say Woodard always took care of everyone and grew the tallest, brightest sunflowers.
"We call her the sunflower queen because she made so many of our lives happy," Wicker said.
Woodard's family says they're happy to see the old lot cleaned up, and their grandmother's legacy living on.
Anyone who has a blighted property they would like to see transformed can contact Tara Wicker at The W Consulting Group.
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