Northside's Parkstrip Garden Project

Every Northside Neighborhood property is eligible for up to $250 in reimbursements for landscaping the parkstrip adjacent to the residence. Click here to download the printable application (Acrobat PDF, 222KB).

"To forty-niners and those following, no expression characterized the California gold rush more than the words 'seeing the elephant.' Those planning to travel west announced they were 'going to see the elephant.' . . .

"The expression predated the gold rush, arising from a tale current when circus parades first featured elephants. A farmer, so the story went, hearing that a circus was in town, loaded his wagon with vegetables for the market there. He had never seen an elephant and very much wished to. On the way to town he encountered the circus parade, led by an elephant. The farmer was thrilled. His horses, however, were terrified. Bolting, they overturned the wagon and ruined the vegetables. 'I don't give a hang,' the farmer said, 'for I have seen the elephant.'

"For gold rushers, the elephant symbolized both the high cost of their endeavor and, like the farmer's circus elephant, an exotic sight, and unequaled experience, the adventure of a lifetime."

(from somewhere on the Internet)

by Joe Golda

I have seen the elephant! There are so many parkstrips on the Northside and only so many hours of daylight on a given Sunday afternoon. Northside's Parkstrip Garden Project couldn't be completed in a year (and maybe not in ten). But I don't give a hang, because we're drinking beer and kicking barren, cement-covered parkstrip ass.

Since the Northside Parkstrip Garden Project kicked off in November 2001, neighborhood volunteers have landscaped 48 parkstrips on more than a half dozen blocks and removed a whole hell of a lot of concrete from them, perhaps as many as 15 tons.

A parkstrip is the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk. NNA hopes that by removing the cement and weeds from un-landscaped or under-landscaped parkstrips and planting trees and flowers in their place, we will reduce blight and add a sense of consistency throughout the Northside neighborhood.

In November 2001, when we started, we did some 18 parkstrips on the 500-block of N. 16th St. (See, Northside, Winter 2002, at pp. 6-7). We have learned a good deal about doing parkstrips since then and it shows on blocks like the 400 blocks of N. 14th, N. 16th or N. 18th Sts.

Thanks to all our volunteers, Our City Forest for supplying free street trees, the Little Golda towheads, Devan (age 6) and Kaden (age 3), and the kind Northside residents that offer their help or a cold soda. What a great little neighborhood we've got.

To participate in the Northside Parkstrip Garden Project, contact Sonya Lu at 971-1219 or

Parkstrip Project Plant Information:

Tree Plantings

Chuck Treeplanting "Street trees are a wonderful improvement to your property for many reasons. Trees cool the hot air in the Summer, and reduce the cold winds in the Winter, which translates into savings for you on your PG&E bills. They add property value and beauty to your street, and studies have shown a connection to planting street trees and lowering crime rates. If a neighborhood looks well taken care of and nicely landscaped, vandals are less likely to trash or tag it."

- Gabrielle Wilder, Northside newsletter, Fall 1996

Joe Gold and Vicki Ortiz

Tree Planting

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