PULL QUOTE with MUG: “Our community is organized, we are engaged and we have found our voice,” - Lisa Mayhew-Jones

CORNELIUS – One big step in the revitalization of the historic Smithville Community in Cornelius is becoming a reality this weekend.

The Smithville CommUNITY Coalition has teamed up with the Town of Cornelius and the Park, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department to open up the Smithville Community Garden at 8 a.m. April 13.

That same day, Smithville is teaming up with several Lake Norman area churches, nonprofits and volunteers to have an all-day community clean up.

“Our community is organized, we are engaged and we have found our voice,” said Lisa Mayhew-Jones, a long-time Smithville resident and a coalition chair.

The community garden is located at the lot once owned by Mayhew-Jones’ grandparents, James and Mattie Caldwell.

“With the help of The Town of Cornelius, Smithville CommUNITY Coalition, Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, Life Fellowship, Davidson United Methodist Church, volunteers and the residents of Smithville all working together made this possible,” said Mayhew-Jones. “It was a vision of the Smithville CommUNITY Coalition to have a community garden in the Smithville area, and now it is a reality.”

The garden is located at 20708 Catawba Ave., near Interstate 77 at Exit 28. All the plots have already been taken.

At the April 8 Cornelius Town Board meeting the board agreed to the lease town-owned property to the Smithville Community Coalition and to enter into an agreement to operate and manage a community garden that will be available to town residents.

“Everything you have come to the town for has been a partnership,” said Cornelius Mayor Lynette Rinker. “You’ve never asked for something where you didn’t give something back and meet us halfway. That is something that is welcomed and we are so happy to be your partners in this effort and we look forward to many good things to come.”