Scout project reclaims Avalon property

Eagle Scout candidate Richard Danylo and Avalon borough manager Lorraine Makatura are pictured at the opening of the community garden. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

The site of an abandoned, fire-damaged house in Avalon is now a community garden full of quickly growing plants, thanks to the efforts of an Eagle Scout candidate and borough officials.

It took years for Avalon to resolve the problem presented by a condemned house that had been destroyed by fire. The house finally was demolished, and the borough took possession of the property. With new zoning laws, however, building on the lot became impossible, according to Avalon borough manager Lorraine Makatura. For several years, however, borough officials had entertained the idea of a community garden that would allow residents to lease a plot and grow their own vegetables and flowers.

That idea became a plan of action when Richard Danylo approached the borough about a project that would earn him the rank of Eagle Scout. Richard, who recently graduated from Avonworth High School, began collecting donations of materials and funds that would allow him and his team of volunteers to create a community green space.

Located on South Chestnut Street in Avalon, the lot is now fully fenced, and features a shed for tool storage and a rain barrel that will help provide water until a more permanent water source is established.

At the heart of the lot, however, are four planting beds, each offering four by eight feet of space for people who may not have the space for gardening at their own residences. There is room for the addition of another four beds, Makatura said. The borough leases the spaces for $25 per season, with the funds going to pay for future water service and materials that might be needed. So far, three of the spaces have been leased, and there is interest in the fourth.