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BOISE -- A Boise church plans to transform a vacant lot at the corner of 11th and Fort streets into a fruit orchard and walking garden.

The lot, which is owned by the Cathedral of the Rockies, has been empty for years. Officials say donations have been secured and plans are underway to beautify the North End corner, and help provide fruit to community meals and food banks.

With the success of the Downtown Teaching Farm next to this space, the idea of planting trees seemed to be a natural progression, said Joe Prin, the church's building superintendent. Taking care of this land has been a challenge, and this will be a win-win for the neighborhood, the city, the church, and hunger ministries.

The fruit orchard has already been approved by the City of Boise Historic Preservation Commission and the North End Neighborhood Association.

Site preparation work is underway. When complete, there will be areas with clusters of apples, pears, plums, apricots, and cherries. The design also includes a grass area, a grape trellis, and berry bushes.

We need advice and guidance, said Prin. The trees, plantings, and final placements need to be selected.We would like to partner with local nurseries and growers for advice and contributions to the project. We are ready to do this now.

Prin says to call 208-573-1082 if you can help.

The final landscaping is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014.

The Ada County Highway District recently replaced some damaged and unsafe sidewalks. The old sidewalks will be recycled into the walking paths of the new orchard.

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