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Accessible community garden serves as sensory space for Pittsburgh Conroy Education Center students

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Conroy Education Center students are getting a hands-on lesson in gardening.

They’ll have a chance to watch collard greens and other vegetables grow in the new Page Street community-accessible garden.

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“It’s a great place for a sensory break. You know all the colors, all the textures for them to touch,” said Candace Hall, Classroom Assistant from Pittsburgh Conroy Education Center.

Conroy staff and students, along with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy got a first look at the revitalized space Wednesday. It sits across the street from the school which caters to children with autism and other special needs.

“We have raised beds at different heights for accessibility for the students,” Hall said.

The garden was planted in the 1980s. But upkeep became challenging over the years. So, this is a rebirth not only for the children who will help maintain it, but for the Manchester neighborhood.

“It had fallen in disrepair over time, people move and things change,” said Marah Fielden, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Community Greening Manager.

Michelle Jones helped plant the original garden decades ago.

“I was really interested in making sure whoever came here that there was a way for them to get to every part of the garden,” Jones said.

The design focuses on accessibility for people with special needs. The money to restore the space came from grants.

“Altogether it was $100,000... we received two separate grants,” Fielden said.

“I’m feeling pretty good cause this has been a long process,” Jones said.

Maintaining the space will be shared by the school, community Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

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