During the long struggle to get a sidewalk built on their Lake City block, one neighbor decided to take things into her own hands, spending countless hours turning a roadside ditch into a beautiful rain garden.
But now, the city finally came through with the funding, and Eva’s garden stands in the way.
But this is not a story of how neighbors united to stop a city project that threatened a beloved garden. Rather, neighbors are organizing to help Eva move her garden so the sidewalk, part of a Safe Routes to School project for Olympic Hill Elementary School, can be completed later this year.
Eva Sismaet is proud of her hard work. And she should be.
Like so many streets in Lake City, the road on both sides of her corner lot lacked basic infrastructure. There is no curb. Runoff from the street on the west side of her property would pool on her blacktop driveway, turning the area into a dangerous ice rink during the winter.
On the north side, along NE 130th Street, the ditch cut into the shoulder of the road would become a mucky, overgrown and litter-filled mess when it rained.
The retiree on a fixed income decided to act and beautify her little slice of our community.
Eva, who has lived in her home with her husband Romeo for 33 years, turned the mucky ditch into a rock-lined garden. She planted elephant ear plants, kept down the overgrowth with tree bark and added colorful plants into the visually appealing mix that lines her property.