May 19 2016 11:22 AM

Community orchard opens in Moores Park neighborhood

(Left to right) Natalie Molnar, Jeff Burdick, Irene Cahill, Liz Landingham, Bob Johnson, Barb Kimmel and Virg Bernero pose in front of the newly developed Osband Orchard.
Eve Kucharski/City Pulse

THURSDAY, May 19 — The lot located at 1845 Osband Ave. has seen its share of change. At this time last year, it was still a derelict house owned by the Ingham County Land Bank. Now, it is a lush community green space known as the Osband Orchard.

This revitalization project was funded through a partnership of the city of Lansing, the Moores Park Neighborhood Organization and TruGreen, a Tennessee-based company that is the nation’s largest lawn care provider. The company’s TruNeighbor program gives grants to cities to aid in the beautification of neighborhoods. The grant to Lansing, valued at $19,800, made the creation Osband Orchard was made possible.

“(For) the TruNeighbor program, there were three cities selected for the program that has grant dollars connected with it, to work with cities on reducing blight, beautifying, (and) building up communitites,” said Liz Landingham, Lansing branch manager for TruGreen.

Mayor Virg Bernero, along with other city and community leaders, met on Thursday morning to officially unveil Osband Orchard to the public.

“This is one of the models for the good things that are happening. It is about partnership,” Bernero said. “It’s not that we want to do things from the top down. We don’t want to do things to neighborhoods, we want to do things with neighborhoods. That is our motto: by, with and through.”

Moores Park neighborhood is one of five blight elimination areas in Lansing

Bernero also presented TruGreen’s TruNeighbor award to the Natalie Molnar, President of the Moores Park Neighborhood Organization, for her work coordinating between the neighborhood, TruGreen and the city.

When asked if TruGreen would consider partnering with Lansing again to help with other properties, Landingham said that it’s possible, but that they seek to spread out across the United States as well.

“We are a national company,” said Landingham. “We’re looking at other cities right now, to kind of spread the wealth. We are working on an opportunity down in Detroit; we know that’s a great need. But most certainly, we want to expand the program.”