Community garden plots will soon be available in Hilliard, with an opening date of mid-May.

Community garden plots will soon be available in Hilliard, with an opening date of mid-May.

The gardens were first mentioned by Mayor Donald Schonhardt during his recent state of the city address.

"We have investigated the possibility of creating a community gardens park within Hilliard, making gardening plots available to our citizens who would like to try their hand at growing their own fruits and vegetables," Schonhardt said in the address. "The community gardens will be available for the upcoming growing season and additional information will be made available within the next several weeks."

"The premise behind this is the past couple years, we've got a lot of inquiries to offer community gardens," said Steven Mazer, director of recreation and parks, who will run the gardens. "I know it's very successful in Grandview, so we and the mayor just thought this would be a good venture for the city of Hilliard, and we had the land that's available."

Hilliard owns 30 acres near the water tower off of Cosgray Road. The land had been farmed for many years, Mazer said, and it's accessible from a dirt road.

"Right now we're not in the position to really do any type of park development on this property, but it's perfect for a community garden," Mazer said.

A couple of those acres will be tilled by a local farmer for the garden plots. The plots will be in three sizes: 30x40-feet, a half-plot is 15x40-feet, and a quarter plot is 15x20-feet. There will be a map that shows the location of the plots.

An annual fee will be charged for the plots, but that, and details like getting water to the gardens, are still being worked on. Hilliard is also looking at how communities with established gardens like Westerville manage their plots.

"We're working on guidelines now concerning fences and stakes, if herbicides and pesticides can be used, and the types of fertilizers we will allow the gardeners to use," Mazer said. "We are in kind of our infancy stage."

People have been calling or emailing the recreation and parks department since the mayor's address, inquiring about the gardens. Mazer said in a few weeks he hopes to have the guidelines and applications ready for people to pick up. The plots would be available on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, call (614) 876-5200 or visit hilliardohio.gov.