City planning family history project at Bathsheba Bowens Historical Park

06/25/2013 9:06 AM

06/25/2013 6:45 AM

Residents of the Harlem and Carrie Mae Johnson neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach shared their family memories Monday night with plans to mark them in the Bathsheba Bowen Memorial Park.

The family history project is part of a grant the city received earlier this year to be used for innovation in urban forestry. The city was one of 10 municipalities in the country to receive the inaugural TD Green Streets Grant, totaling $20,000.

Harlem resident Jean Gore said she remembers living on Canal Street in what is now the Booker T. Washington neighborhood with pindo palm trees in her yard.

“They had this yellow date fruit on them and we would eat them off the trees,” she said.

Planning Director Jack Walker said he had few childhood memories associated with trees.

“I remember the first tree I climbed, and I can remember the first tree I fell out of,” Walker said.

Residents who attended the meeting were asked to share not only memories they had that were associated with trees – a requirement for the grant project – as well as a history of how those neighborhoods began.

“We want to know what it was like growing up on your street,” said Diane Moskow-McKenzie, senior planner with the Myrtle Beach Planning Department. “We want to get to the core of how these communities came to be.”

The grant program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and TD Bank, is designed to benefit underserved communities, according to a press release from the foundation.

The money will be spent in the Harlem and Carrie Mae Johnson – also known as Tin Top Alley – neighborhoods, which are located along and between Canal and Nance streets, north of U.S. Highway 501 and south of Mr. Joe White Avenue.

In addition to the family history program, the money will be used to help pay for landscaping on the Gray Street extension project in the Harlem neighborhood, a community education program and an i-Tree software/hardware system to enable a city-wide tree inventory.

The grants also were awarded to municipalities in Greenville; Casselberry and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Wilmington, Del.; Cheltenham Township, Pa.; Newark, N.J.; Salem and Springfield, Mass.; and Burlington, Vt.

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