When the ground thaws, Brooklyn Center’s first community garden is ready grow with interest from residents who have snapped up the 18 plots available at Centennial Park West, 6254 Brooklyn Drive.
The garden’s availability was advertised in the city newsletter since December and the 18 plots, for $30 each, sold pretty quickly, said Brooklyn Center Director of Community Activities Recreation and Services Jim Glasoe.
Planning for community gardening in Brooklyn Center started at Happy Hollow Park in 2012. City staff held neighborhood meetings there, but residents were concerned about how a garden would conflict with other uses of the land in the park, the lack of parking in the area and safety of children who play there.
Centennial Park West, which is bigger than Happy Hollow Park, proved to be a more favorable site for a garden.
However, with the plots there already reserved and a waiting list of other interested gardeners, Glasoe said the program may expand to other parks in the future.
“We’re going to be using this year as a learning opportunity,” Glasoe said. Staff will evaluate the impact the garden has at Centennial Park West, he said.
The garden at Centennial Park West opened late in the planting season last year because of the time it took for project approval. Only two plots were used by residents. The garden should be ready by May 1 this year, Glasoe said.
Each plot is 20 by 20 feet and the $30 fee from each resident is used to offset the costs of the program.
Glasoe did apply for a grant from the National Recreation and Park Association to help pay for the garden, but the city did not receive the funding, he said.
The city has a fence around the garden and will install an irrigation system, which the grant would have helped pay for. Staff would have also used the funds for public education about the benefits of community gardening, Glasoe said. They may still offer the education opportunities this year, he said.
Centennial Park West’s garden is on higher ground in the park and closest to the hockey rink, which is space not used in the summertime. There is access to city water for irrigation as well as bathroom facilities and ample parking for the gardeners.
Brooklyn Center Business and Development Director Gary Eitel said the full reservations for the garden plots means the program could expand, but the question is whether to use additional space at Centennial Park West, or another park.
“It was surprising that it went that quickly and it’s a good sign,” Eitel said. “I am hoping it’s 18 gardeners who are all excited about the community gardening opportunities in Brooklyn Center,” he said.
Contact Katy Zillmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.