The garden would offer Anniston residents the opportunity to grow their own produce safely in a town that has struggled with soil contamination in the past.
"We're never going to touch the old ground," said Joseph Jankoski, executive director of the community development corporation, a local nonprofit focused on revitalizing Calhoun County.
The half-acre garden will be completely above ground, using a number of 4-by-8 foot containers. Jankoski said he anticipates that each box will be rented for $10 per season, with opportunities for Anniston residents to sponsor boxes as well.
But first, Jankoski said he must take on the challenge of transforming the old Auto Pride Car Wash into a garden.
Church members and teen volunteers from Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Alabama helped demolish the car wash, taking down aluminum roofing and sweeping areas on the property. The volunteers are participating in Greenbrier Church of Christ's Model City Missions program, a four-day program that sends teens to various locations across town to participate in service projects.
"We're just having a great time out here tearing this stuff up," said Ronald Borden, an elder at Greenbrier. "It's the next best thing to football."
The nonprofit rents the property from Brannon Recycling, which also offers the group the opportunity to turn in the aluminum from the site for scrap metal, Jankoski said.
Jankoski often seeks advice from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and cited Hobson City's community garden success as an inspiration.
"When you have an opportunity like this, you can't pass it up," he said. "We're hoping this will be one of those small sustainable successes."
Jankoski is also working to have the city bus, which now uses the car wash parking lot as a turn-around spot, stop at the garden.
"That gives all the residents of the community a way to get here," he said.
Jake Hance, the youth and family minister at the Enterprise Boulevard Church of Christ in Lake Charles, La., enjoyed the opportunity to help out in one of the more hands-on mission projects.
"This one is exciting because we're helping an area that needed a lot of work," he said. "We're doing whatever work needed to be done, and we're having a really good time. It's really encouraging."
Although a lot of planning has gone into the garden, Jankoski takes the project as it comes.
"A week and a half ago, I had no idea this is where we were going to be," Jankoski said. "And here we are."
Volunteers will also be on site Wednesday continuing the demolition and clean up work.