Thursday, March 7, 2013

Eco Garden may have to shrink, move; Petition launched

Advocates for the Eco Garden at 1718 Main Street in Mount Auburn are considering several options and have launched a petition drive after discovering that part of the community garden may be part of a development site for the 2014 CitiRama home show.

The Eco Garden, which started in 1998 and has been run by local nonprofit Permaganic since 2010, functions as an educational and job readiness program for local children and adds much-needed fresh food options to its urban neighborhood.

Operated on a parcel of land owned by the City and leased to the Civic Garden Center, the garden has since expanded well beyond that parcel onto land that would be used as part of a proposed infill housing project on Hughes Street.

In a Feb. 26 memo to City Council, City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. said that, if the garden overflow is returned back to the City for the redevelopment, the City would sell the Main Street parcel to the Civic Garden Center outright.

In response, Councilmember Laure Quinlivan has drafted a motion asking the City to work with the Office of Environmental Quality on incorporating the garden into the CitiRama development, to prepare a short list of alternate locations for the home show, and to find a permanent additional location that would allow the Eco Garden to expand elsewhere.

Permaganic has launched a petition drive on supporting the motion, with one adjustment – that it is not asking CitiRama to find alternate sites for next year's project. Both developer NorthPointe Group and the City's Department of Community Development, Permaganic says in the petition, have been "verbally supportive" of keeping the Eco Garden at its current site.

Additionally, it wants the City to create a legal structure that would protect the community garden for perpetual use by the children of Mount Auburn, Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton and to name the Civic Garden Center as its owner.

As of this story's publication, 203 people had signed the petition.

Quinlivan's motion has not yet been presented to City Council.

Previous reading on BC:
College Hill dedicates walking paths, celebrates history (10/30/12)
Camp Washington applies for urban farm grant; Crosley floated as site (6/25/12)
Saturday charrette to design for OTR urban farms (1/26/11)
Construction of unique, state-of-the-art Green Learning Station underway (8/16/10)
11th Citirama home show open in Northside (9/10/12)