Site crops up in Glenwood Springs for community garden |

Site crops up in Glenwood Springs for community garden

John Stroud/Post IndependentA group of gardening enthusiasts is working to establish a community garden on part of this city-owned piece of property located between the Rio Grande Trail and the Roaring Fork River, near the intersection of 23rd and Grand in Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A group of citizens seeking to turn a piece of city-owned property next to the Rio Grande Trail at 23rd Street and Grand Avenue into a community garden has earned a favorable recommendation and will now take its proposal to City Council.

The Glenwood Parks and Recreation Commission, at its Feb. 12 meeting, unanimously endorsed the idea of using part of the property located behind the Roaring Fork Anglers fly-fishing shop for a community garden.

The ad hoc garden committee will take its proposal to the Glenwood Springs City Council on March 5, with a request for $3,000 to pay for site improvements including a water source for irrigation, said organizer Marilee Rippy.

Water could be provided by either tapping into the city’s nearby water line, or possibly pumping water from the Roaring Fork River, which borders the west side of property, she said.

Because there is no place for on-site parking, Rippy said it would need to be made clear to users that access can only be by foot from the adjacent bike path.

“It would be a pedestrian access garden, where people could walk or ride their bikes to get there,” she said.

A petition seeking interest in a community garden that was placed at Good Health Grocery in downtown Glenwood garnered more than 50 signatures.

“I’m sure there will be more interest than we’ll have space for,” Rippy said. “Every other community garden in the valley has a waiting list.”

Glenwood Springs has not had a community garden since the one that was located behind St. Stephen’s School was eliminated several years ago when the new St. Stephen’s church was built, and the land was needed for parking.

Rippy said the proposed new community garden would likely start small, about half an acre, with between 40 and 60 plots, each 8-by-12 feet.

“We could keep expanding from there,” she said.

The proposed site for the garden was purchased by the city several years ago for future transportation needs, and could eventually be used if plans for a downtown bypass using the former railroad corridor ever come to fruition.

However, the property has not been designated as park land. If it were, it would require an election should the city ever decide to sell it or use it for something else.

For that reason, its use as a community garden would likely not be viewed as permanent. It would operate similar to the city’s dog park, which is also located on city-owned property next to the bike path near the high school.

“We are willing to just squat there for now,” Rippy said.

Other sites have also been considered for a community garden, including the former rodeo grounds. However, concerns about possible contamination due to the site’s use for winter snow storage and the fact that it’s farther from the center of town made that less feasible, Rippy said.

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