Community garden to sprout at arena

Sheryl Pitre hopes to start soil work on a new community garden at the Pelham Arena this fall.

Town council last week approved a business plan and location for the 21-plot garden.

The garden, measuring 102-feet long and 31-feet wide, will be south of the arena parking lot and east of the building.

The autumn digging and fertilizing will get the soil ready for installing the garden in the spring of 2015, said Pitre, of Pelham Communities in Bloom.

Her committee in partnership with the Pelham Horticultural Society and Green Niagara will oversee the community garden.

They made a presentation to town council last week outlining finances and research behind the project.

Each of the 10-by-5-foot plots will be rented to those interested in gardening but do not have land.

Organizers expect users will be people living in apartments such as seniors, singles and young families. They will grow organic vegetables or flowers.

Among the plots will be two elevated for accessibility to wheelchairs users.

The business plan calls for a spending of $6,825 in the first year to set up the garden.

Expenses include installation of a waterline, equipment rental, lumber, hardware, compost bins, compost delivery, shed, bench, picnic tables, landscape cloth, watering cans and gardening tools.

The town will cover start-up costs. It had put $10,000 in its 2014 budget said town treasurer Cari Pupo.

Pitre said the arena site was chosen for the garden because it was centrally located, well lit, has appropriate drainage, a good mix of sun and shade, public washrooms and lots of parking.

Among other sites considered were school lands, Peace Park, Centennial Park, Harold Black Park and downtown Fenwick. Each had drawbacks.

The three partners want create a green space within the town accessible to all residents to grow their own organic food.

Users would also share knowledge, get exercise and develop a sustainable ongoing project.

The horticultural society will instruct new gardeners.

Green Niagara, which has assisted 15 community gardens, will provide organizational advice and workshops.

The public land for the community garden will be leased from the town.

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