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Grayslake, IL: Garden Wants to Join ACGA

  • Subject: [cg] Grayslake, IL: Garden Wants to Join ACGA
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 00:18:17 EDT

Nature to flourish in community garden
Live in an apartment complex with no available open space? Got a big old green thumb, but hate the thought of digging up your pristine lawn to grow vegetables or plant a rose bush? A plot in a community garden could satisfy those planting urges.
A piece of village property not large enough to be used commercially has been designated the site of a pilot community garden project for residents who feel the need to seed. The site is located on the east side of Library Lane, south of the SK8 Grayslake skate park, and has enough space for 48 40x20 garden plots.
The idea evolved after Trustee Kim Pruitt took a liking to a community garden located near Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.
"It was cool seeing all the older people gardening," she said.
Initially, Pruitt had the seniors at the Grayslake Senior Center in mind when she came up with the idea, but the garden will be open to any resident who wants to lease a plot.
The community garden proposal received unanimous village board approval June 1 and was allocated $5,000 in set-up money.
Because planting season is well underway, organizers will have to wait until next May to break ground, Pruitt said. "I was a little disappointed. I wanted it to start this year."
A community group or organization is being sought to take over the site and lease plots, collect fees and oversee the garden. Plot applications and offers to help coordinate and oversee the project are also being accepted.
The village wants to have at least 20 residents signed-up to lease plots before plans get underway next spring to develop the site into a community garden. Pruitt doesn't think that will be a problem. Fellow Trustee Terese Douglass is already on board for two plots and several residents have told Pruitt they would be interested in leasing plots too.
"Most people crave this around here," she said. With more condominium projects coming to the village, Pruitt feels those residents might desire an area where they could plant flowers and vegetables. Seniors from the Library Lane Senior Residence could also take advantage of the nearby site. Additionally, Pruitt said, there are residents who don't want to dig into their own grass to make a garden.
The village hopes to join the American Community Gardening Association, a national non-profit membership organization formed in 1979. The association helps communities develop their gardens and share limited resources. More information can be found at www.communitygarden.org.
Community gardens have enjoyed success in Libertyville and the community of Prairie Crossing off Route 45 in Grayslake.
"If there's community interest, I think it's a great idea," said Grayslake Greenery Garden Club President Nancy Rinker. She suggests the village send out a survey in the water bill, which goes to all homes.
If the idea is seen to fruition, Rinker said it will be important to have some kind of fencing around the garden site to reduce theft and vandalism. Pruitt agrees.
Some water is already available at the site and gardeners will be able to access it with buckets between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Rinker suggests hoses might be better because some seniors may not be able to lift heavy buckets of water.
The existing water tank will get a meter and be monitored by Public Works on a daily basis, Pruitt said. The site will also include two 500-gallon portable water tanks available for use after 3 p.m.
Residents can lease plots for $20 per season. The season will run May to November. Half of the fee will be used to pay for water to the site, which is anticipated to cost around $470 per season. The other half of the fee will be refunded to residents once they've cleared out their plot at the end of the growing season.
To apply for a plot at the community garden or to get involved in another aspect, contact the Grayslake Village Hall's Request for Service line at (847) 223-8515 or Trustee Kim Pruitt at (847) 543-9057.

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