“This is ground zero for this community. This is where people come to grow their own food, to meet their own neighbors, to work together to literally rebuild a community.” – Mayor Bill Finch
Bridgeport, Conn. (March 19, 2015) – Mayor Bill Finch, community leaders, neighbors, local contractors and businesses rallied to help the Reservoir Community Farm to rebuild after a fire destroyed a community building in the North End.
“This is ground zero for this community,” said Mayor Bill Finch yesterday at the Green Village Initiative community farm, which is located at the corner of Reservoir Avenue and Yaremich Drive. “This is where people come to grow their own food, to meet their own neighbors, to work together to literally rebuild a community.
“From these ashes that we’re standing on right now, we will re-grow. We’re going to build it bigger and better than it was,” said Mayor Finch.
The city coordinated with GVI to raze the one-story building community building, which was destroyed on Monday in a fire.
By Tuesday, Mayor Finch, GVI and Jorge Garcia, the director of the city’s Public Facilities department, already were working with Bridgeport-based contractors and businesses lay the foundation for the future.
“It hits home,” said Garcia. “We know it’s all about community and we want to be part of rebuilding this.”
Two local small business owners, contractor Marshan Coleman and electrician Willie McBride, stepped up and volunteered their companies’ services. Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett and Fire Chief Brian Rooney also attended the event Wednesday to support GVI.
“It’s a little emotional for me because I grew up on this street,” Coleman said. “I’ve got a lot of guys ready to come and donate time and materials, whatever we can do to build it back bigger and better.”
GVI is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to creating social, economic and environmental change through local action. Through the Reservoir Community Farm, school gardens and internship program in Bridgeport, the organization is creating jobs, growing healthy local food, educating around health and obesity, beautifying inner city areas, and empowering youth.
GVI with the city will host a community fundraiser tonight, March 19, 2015, at 5 p.m. at The Arcade Storefronts, 1001 Main St. in Bridgeport with live music and information about how the city and groups like VCI are working to make Bridgeport a healthier community every day.
Monique Bosch, the co-founder of GVI, said she has been astounded by the groundswell of support the group has received since the fire.
“It takes something like this to see how important a community farm can be,” she said. “When you see something like this happen and the community is devastated and mad and they say, ‘We’re going to fix this and we’re going to rebuild immediately,’ then you realize how important this is and that everybody really does care. And it’s their farm and we all feel connected because of this experience.”