2016-12-10 / Front Page

OOB Community Garden approved to continue

By LIZ GOTTHELF
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The Community Garden began amid controversy in 2011 and now is a thriving organization which has been granted approval to continue for the next two years.
The town council voted unanimously Tuesday, with Councilor Shawn O’Neil absent, to grant approval for the garden to continue through the 2018 growing season.
The Community Garden is located on town land at The Ballpark property, providing space for community members to grow vegetables. Gardeners rent 10 by 10 plots for an annual fee of $25. The garden is governed by a town committee, with oversight from the town council.
“It’s turned into a beautiful property,” said Community Garden Secretary Lynn Sheldon Tuesday night.
When the garden was first approved in 2011, it was after much debate on whether this was an acceptable use for The Ballpark, which was being redeveloped after many years of abandonment.
The Community Garden is able to finance all purchases through plot fees, and is grateful for help it receives from town departments, said committee members in a letter to the town council.
The committee has given free plots to those in need and local organizations such as the scout groups and the high school. There is a larger sized plot maintained by a local food pantry in addition to 48 standard sized plots.
“So far, we have been able to accommodate all those wishing to garden and there is space for additional plots if that becomes necessary,” wrote committee members. “With your approval, we hope to continue our efforts to provide garden space for those who would otherwise not be able to garden.”
The committee said The Ballpark Commission, which oversees The Ballpark property, has unanimously granted its permission for the garden to continue, said the committee.
Council Chairman Joseph Thornton said Tuesday he went down to the garden site earlier this year and said it was very well maintained.
“It’s pretty impressive,” he said.
Assistant Town Manager V. Louise Reid commented that her neighbor gives her “great tomatoes” grown at the community garden.
— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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