Submitted by OPAL Community Land Trust.
On a cold and sunny October 24, a group of 15 volunteers – April’s Grove residents, OPAL homeowners and trustees, and community members wanting to get their hands dirty – helped to landscape the new April’s Grove neighborhood of affordable rental townhomes in Eastsound.
The volunteers planted 96 trees along with hundreds of shrubs, some of which had been removed from the site by the Orcas Master Gardeners before construction began in 2019. Local landscaper Robin Kucklick, who is designing and installing the landscaping at April’s Grove, organized the volunteers and lent his expertise for planting flowering cherries, crabapples, dogwoods, hawthornes, maples and incense cedars.
Since construction was completed in mid-October, landscaping has been in full swing, helping to transform April’s Grove from a construction site into OPAL’s – and Eastsound’s – newest neighborhood. It is the first rental project of significant size built on Orcas in nearly 30 years. On September 1, the first resident moved into her new townhome. Since then, 26 more households have followed, with another 18 expected to move in by the end of the year.
“It’s the people who bring a new neighborhood to life – who turn houses into homes,” said OPAL Executive Director Lisa Byers. “It’s such a joy to pass by April’s Grove and see signs of people creating their personal space – lights in the windows, bikes in the bike racks, potted plants on front porches.”
Incorporated in 1989, OPAL Community Land Trust provides permanently affordable housing for 139 rental and ownership households on Orcas Island, with an additional 45 households being added with the completion of April’s Grove.