02 August 2008
717 Otisco Street
The property at 717 Otisco Street is an amazing opportunity of energy and projects that is now in development. The house on this property, and the adjoining vacant lot,
have been purchased by a member of the Alchemical Nursery and will act as a demonstration and education site for Urban Permaculture and Natural Building techniques during its development. The house itself dates back to the late 1800's and, at the date of purchase in October 2010, had stood vacant for 4 years - leaving it in a state of disrepair, and an exceptional candidate for exploring the use of local, natural, and appropriate tech materials and techniques in an urban setting.
What has happened so far? In March 2009, Emanuel Carter's Landscape Architecture students at SUNY-ESF drew up some initial conceptual plans for the site - a study of sorts as to what might work and make sense within the space, and a visual tool for educating about Permaculture and Natural Systems Design on an urban lot. On October 3rd of 2010, work on the Permaculture landscape was begun with the construction of a Hugelkultur garden bed - which went on to receive a planting of garlic bulbs; and on November 7, three Hazelbert trees were given a new home on the property as well. At the end of the 2010 Fall semester, SUNY-ESF Graduate Student Dorothy Goodman will present a planting and construction plan for the front portion of the property adjoining Otisco St and Belmont St, to facilitate the installation of a northeastern food forest. Many of these projects are being undertaken as work and skill shares that enable light work to be made from many hands, while sharing the knowledge and experience of the project first-hand - and will be featured events through the Syracuse Permaculture and Urban Homesteading Guild.
Our friend Rick (proprietor of The Gear Factory artists and musicians studio warehouse) bought the house next door through the same dollar house program, and is currently fixing it up and getting it ready to move his family in. It is exciting to have the opportunity to work further with the Gear Factory community which is an integral part of the neighborhood as well! And have you ever visited Lipe Art Park? It's right around the corner, and it's where we've built four communal compost bins - three during an Earth Day event April 2008, and one for the 40 Below Summit in October 2008.
In the future, The 717 site may serve as a Westside base of operations for Alchemical's Ecovillage and Intentional Community building initiatives, including the DUCk
(Decentralized Urban Community) network to coordinate shared services and resources among ecovillage oriented communitarians - the beginnings of our urban ecovillage development and the first property for the proposed Community Land Trust.
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