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Community Gardens of Santa Clarita

Posted: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Gardeners Suzanne Bourg, left, and Sharon Chetalo, right, pour a load of mulch between their gardening plots at the Community Gardens at Central Park.

 

It is difficult to believe that just last December then-Mayor of the city of Santa Clarita Laurene Weste presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita at Central Park.

So much has been achieved in such a short time — but, of course, the seeds of the project were germinated several months earlier when a group of interested residents approached the city to request assistance to help this idea bear fruit.

The mayor, the City Council, city staff and commissioners gave their wholehearted support to this endeavor and provided approximately one-half acre of land adjacent to Central Park, along with the water supply essential to make the garden flourish.

A Community Garden Council was formed, led by master gardener and local resident Diane Benjamin, to plan, fund, implement and manage the gardens.

The planning stage was completed with the help of city staff and many volunteers, and it emphasized the “community” aspect of the garden.

The design team strove to not only provide an opportunity for the maximum number of residents to grow their own, fresh, healthy vegetables but also to make the gardens a place of beauty for all residents to enjoy by incorporating numerous fruit trees, a rose garden and picnic tables on the site.

The gardens were, and continue to be, funded by the generosity of the community at large, local businesses and nominal fees paid by the plot occupants. 

The Buy a Brick program allows donors to support the gardens and have their generosity permanently acknowledged with a brick forming part of the garden walkways.

(The Garden Council is awaiting IRS approval of their 501 (c) three nonprofit status and, once received, these donations will become tax-deductible.)

The construction team, led by local resident Danny Freibrun, constructed 80 raised beds, each 10’ by 10’, along with two handicapped beds suitable for wheelchair-bound gardeners.

Applicants were able to request either a single or a double plot, and there are currently 52 residents actively gardening, with a waiting list of 25 additional applicants. The work was completed with numerous volunteers, many of whom had no plans to apply for a plot, reinforcing the “community” nature of the gardens.

A special grand opening/dedication celebration is being held at the Central Park garden project on May 9 at 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in being a part of the project or a future garden project should attend.

For more information, email Diane Benjamin at dianetheflowerlady@earthlink.net.

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