Monday, June 16, 2008

Honoring founders one stone at a time

There are many heroes in the story of how community was built on Quesada. Now, the Board of Directors and the members of the Quesada Gardens Initiative are acknowledging the two who started it all - Karl Paige and Annette Smith - with a vista already taking shape on the hilltop above the community mural

The vista will include a bench (compliments of Flora Grubb), planter boxes showcasing ornamental edibles, and a small rock garden...all above a short retaining wall made of broken concrete called "urbanite" dropped off by the Department of Public Works.

Pictured are Steven Aiello, a Bayview resident who designed the Founders' Memorial, and QGI Co-Founder James Ross who worked from morning to night this past Saturday to lay in the last of the retaining wall. Also lending muscle to the effort were QGIer's Tony Tarket, Steve Jordan, and Jeffrey Betcher

Many others have helped over recent months, including our amazing Stanford University and University of San Francisco volunteers. Our sun hats are off to each and every one.

QGI especially salutes Steven, who volunteered to lend his professional design know-how to the project, but who ended up project leading and fitting each piece of urbanite into place himself. Steven met Karl Paige and other Quesada Gardens Initiative members at the home of Hydra Mendoza when Mayor Newsom stopped by for a meet-and-greet during the last election, and he offered to help that very night.

No one knew that Karl, who seemed the picture of health at that time, would pass away that very evening. The importance of honoring Karl and Annette, who still tends the Quesada Garden most every day, is deeply felt by Steven and everyone involved.

Mayor Newsom, on hearing about Karl's passing, offered to donate a plaque for the project, beginning a wave of giving that is making construction of the vista possible. The gifts include volunteerism from residents who want Karl and Annette's amazing example, and the community-building organization that it ignited, remembered.

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