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Rallying to a Worthy Cause

Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

Bruce Zaretsky’s name certainly should be familiar to longtime readers of WaterShapes and WaterShapes EXTRA!, but if he and his partner Sharon Coates keep it up, their renown is likely to spread far beyond the watershaping industry in months and years to come.

The other day, Bruce and Sharon sent me a press release announcing the formation of Project Scion, a new community-service program for Rochester, N.Y., in which their company, Zaretsky and Associates, is teaming with Pietro Fugiuele’s Waterford Tilling to adopt one of the city’s many vacant lots and turn it into a park.

“We have the full support of the city,” they wrote, and explained they’ve already selected a corner lot where the park will be built starting June 28. Apparently, the chosen neighborhood has suffered mightily in recent years and epitomizes the harm urban blight has done to city centers across the country.

As part of the program, local neighborhood leaders and residents will work side-by-side with professionals on what Bruce and Sharon hope will be the first of many urban parks in Rochester. The two firms, both of them landscape-design shops based in the area, will be donating all of their design and meeting time, and their staffs will help the community build the park.

To watch a video about Project Scion, follow the link below. Bruce and his colleagues are using kickstarter.com to raise the small amount needed to purchase materials – trees and plants, a new fence, some decking and hardware as well as perks including snacks, drinks and t-shirts for the volunteers.

It’s all about the revitalization of a neighborhood down on its luck. To me, the program seems to be a distinctly worthy cause, one that will do great things for the community and enrich the lives of its residents. And when this project reaches its successful conclusion, who knows? This definitely is a transferable concept, big time, and I can think of neighborhoods across the country where similar efforts might be just the ticket.

Give the video a look — and think about getting involved.

To see the Project Scion video, click here.

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