Lincoln Charter School second-grader Jordan Rodriguez, center, and classmates pull weeds under a planter while working at the Hope Street Garden & Learning
Lincoln Charter School second-grader Jordan Rodriguez, center, and classmates pull weeds under a planter while working at the Hope Street Garden & Learning Lab Tuesday. Students from several city schools work at the garden during the summer to grow vegetables for their families. A pavilion is currently under construction at the site. (BILL KALINA — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

A garden springing up in downtown York City is continuing in its efforts to provide children in the downtown area with the chance to learn in an outdoor space.

Construction for a new outdoor classroom space began Monday in the Hope Street Garden & Learning Lab, said Anne Clark, executive director of the garden.

Students from several York City schools contribute to the garden, including the Lincoln and Helen Thackston charter schools, where Clark works as the community outreach director. Other schools include Logos Academy and William Penn Senior High School.

The garden operates independently from the schools but is intended for student use throughout three seasons of the year, Clark said.

The class space will be an open pavilion with seating underneath for students, Clark said. The goal is to use the area as a hub for the garden's ongoing curriculum, which includes themes of entrepreneurship and other lessons from a certified 4-H instructor, Clark said.

Throughout the summer, students from Lincoln in the Roar for Learning summer program visit the site each day.

Not every class visits each day, Clark said, but when students visit for lessons, they learn about the vegetables growing in the garden and eventually harvest the produce that comes from it.

Produce: The new classroom is a culmination of donations from churches, community organizations and more, Clark said, adding one of the few remaining materials needed is lumber for the rest of the pavilion.

"York has just loved this into being," Clark said of the project.

In the garden's first year last summer, students who came to the site were able to take home some of the produce that grew, she added.

One student, Evelyn Velazquez, said she's been gardening with her neighbor for the past several years. She had leftover tomato plants this summer, which she brought Wednesday to plant.

Velazquez, 9, said her favorite part of the gardening process is planting the crops.

"When you actually put it into the ground it looks beautiful," she said.

Monday, students from Lincoln and city officials including Mayor Kim Bracey and state Rep. Kevin Schreiber will inscribe the cement foundation of the new pavilion. The ceremony is open to the public and will take place at 10:45 a.m. at the garden, 446 West Hope Ave.

— Reach Nikelle Snader at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.