While it's difficult to see how planting wildflower gardens in Warren will translate into an economic stimulus, one thing for certain is that Gregg's Gardens is the impetus behind many people in Warren coalescing to accomplish something positive.
Blight plagues the city. Hundreds of houses in Warren have been razed. Hundreds more are targeted. The remaining empty lots usually fall on the city to maintain, at a cost. In many cases, residents next door to these lots are elderly and unable to take on the extra maintenance or too poor to pay the taxes. The city couldn't give them away.
So the idea of using donated money, labor and material to plant wildflowers on every empty lot on Atlantic Street emerged last year. This idea, called Gregg's Gardens, is expanding to include a large neighborhood just north and east of downtown. This area is a primary target for this year's housing demos.
Warren Expressed founder Dennis Blank and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership Program Director Matt Martin, the energy behind Gregg's Gardens, foresee the wildflowers turning Warren into a tourist attraction known as ''The Garden City.'' We have a hard time seeing that, though we hope one day they can prove us wrong.
But we can see how flowers are better than weeds. We can see how homes next to flowers are more attractive and potentially more valuable than homes next to debris. We can see how naturally growing wildflowers reduces maintenance expenses for taxpayers.
Perhaps best of all we can see dozens of people and organizations coming together and taking pride in their city. And we can see how outsiders considering where to invest in property just might be attracted to a place with people that exude this much pride.