Garden plot idea a slam dunk

Community garden to grow on unused basketball court

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

Gardeners across Stillwater might be spending their time on North Hill this spring.

On Saturday, local residents are invited to help build and participate in the new North Hill Community Garden located on the corner of Aspen and North Martha streets. Plots are available on a first come first serve basis.

A group of 27 neighbors on North Hill gathered together in February to help create the garden at the old Staples Field basketball court. The site has not been used for years, which led to the city removing the court and fencing.

As of Saturday, new plot beds with fresh soil will rest on the old basketball courts. The members of the group wanted to create a garden that would promote activity at the unused park, stating the community garden would add value, increase neighborhood security, provide youth education, beautify the neighborhood and promote exercise.

At 9 a.m. Saturday Stillwater residents are invited to help build the garden site. There will be approximately 40 9-by-9 plots, including handicap accessible plots. A full plot costs $80 and a half plot costs $40 for the season. The North Hill Community Garden group is suggesting people donate an extra $20 when they purchase their plots to go toward a scholarship fund for those who cannot afford the full price of a plot.

The NHCG sought city approval Tuesday. The city council passed the request 4-1.

"What this (garden) will show is that there’s a need for more community gardens in the city," said Ann DeLaVergne, a member of the NHCG group. "I think there’s a real interest."

DeLaVergne said she hopes this first community garden will inspire other citizens across the city to start up community gardens near their homes, to bring each neighborhood together.

The city will own the community garden, but the gardeners will take care of the maintenance and upkeep of the garden.

"I commend what you’re doing because I think this reflects what cities will become in the future," said Ward 1 Councilman Doug Menikheim. "I know people in the first ward would be interested in something like this."

People can sign up for a plot Saturday. Residents are encouraged to bring their garden tools and gloves to work on raising the garden plots, and people are also encouraged to bring something to share at the 2 p.m. potluck lunch.

For more information contact [email protected] or call Sue Browne at 651-430-1979.