Olentangy Valley News

Community garden's location set; details pending

Powell's Arbor Ridge Park will host new garden

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Although it's still early in the planning stages, Powell's community garden has found a home.

Jeff Snyder, Powell's director of parks and recreation, announced at a community meeting last week that the city had selected Arbor Ridge Park as the site of the garden.

He said the park, located at the southwest corner of Bennett Parkway and state Route 750, was "one of the last bastions of green space in the city" that had not been developed for another purpose.

"We have plenty of room on that site," he said. "Nothing is planned for it now or in the future."

Although funding for the project has not been solidified, Snyder said the community garden concept has support from Powell City Council members, the parks department and a group of residents. He said the local Kiwanis chapter also has expressed interest in helping with the project.

"I'm very excited about this project," Snyder said. "We have some work ahead of us, but it's certainly not insurmountable."

Nancy Shapiro, assistant health commissioner for the Delaware General Health District, said her agency also would offer what assistance it could.

"Our goal as a health district is to have people increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables," she said. "The more vegetables, the better."

Besides the location -- south of the tennis courts and parking lot at Arbor Ridge Park -- little about the garden has been finalized. Snyder said it's up to residents to decide the details such as how plots are divided and reserved.

Snyder said he hoped volunteers would form a board to create and help enforce rules for the garden. Volunteers also likely would be needed for maintenance and fundraising help.

While he welcomed input on most issues, Snyder said he would have to lay down one rule immediately: The garden has to be organic, he said, because of regulations barring pesticide use on public land.

Snyder also suggested using raised beds in the garden rather than the existing soil, which he called boggy, thick and not well-drained.

He also said the city and residents would need to find a cost-effective way to keep animals -- especially deer -- away from the garden. He said Arbor Ridge park already is an attractive location for deer.

"I think we just need to establish the framework, get City Council's blessing and it's off to the races," he said.

Community residents seeking more information on the community garden project or a way to get involved may email Megan Canavan, the city's public information officer, at mcanavan@cityofpowell.us.

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