Taking advantage of a cool, overcast summer day, a group of volunteers led by Jim Killoran of began sprucing up a vacant lot opposite Monday.
"It was the answer to a prayer that the (lot's) caretaker called," Killoran said, and asked if he could make the lot look better.
"It's a gift," he said. "That's what life is all about."
Killoran said it was part of an effort to beautify the downtown area.
"There are 5,000 people in the downtown," he said. "It's our neighborhood."
Killoran and seven young people cleared the lot, put down anti-weed matting and strategically placed still-potted flowers, along with tomato and basil plants, provided at a discount from .
He said they were going to bring in more soil and build up the area where the plants will grow.
His volunteers defined the growing area with stones found on the lot.
"It's all about using what's already there," Killoran said.
As they worked, several passersby commented on the progress they had made, with comments like "Looking good."
Killoran called the young people he was working with his "A Team."
"These kids are helping to change the community," he said. "They are the future."
Part the object lesson for the young people, Killoran said, was learning that even in downtown New Rochelle they could grow their own vegetables.
Marquis Austin, a New Rochelle resident who will be a senior at the high school in the fall, said he was working on the garden to help the community.
"This will make it look better," he said, "and increase the positivity."
And what does he get out of it?
"It makes me feel good to give back to the community," Austin said.
For , whose law office is located nearby at 542 Main St., what Killoran and his crew are doing is welcome.
"It's a much-needed improvement to a vacant lot," he said. "It will add an esthetic quality for those who walk along Main Street."
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