Meetings set on future of Bellingham's city-run community gardens

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 27, 2013 

Three public meetings are planned on a proposal to have community groups take over management of the three city-run community gardens in Bellingham.

James King, parks director, says the change would save the city $10,000 a year and result in gardens that are better run. A possible arrangement could have a neighborhood or nonprofit group oversee day-to-day operations of a garden, collect rental fees and pay for water, while the city would mow, till and maintain the water system.

Critics say the proposal reflects diminished city support for the gardens at a time when many people are interested in growing their own food.

An initial hearing March 26 attracted about 60 people, many of them critical or skeptical about the idea.

Three more hearings are scheduled to gather comments about each of the gardens:

• 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Fairhaven Park Pavilion, to discuss the garden at 10th Street and Wilson Avenue. The year-round organic garden has 34 plots.

• 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Bloedel Donovan Park Beach Pavilion, to discuss the garden at Lakeway Drive and Woburn Street. The seasonal, non-organic garden has 64 plots.

• 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Fairhaven Park Pavilion, to discuss the year-round organic garden on 32nd Street, in Happy Valley. The private land with 100 plots is leased by the city.

People interested in the future of the gardens can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 360-778-7000.

Reach Dean Kahn at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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