Community garden site safe for now, Glenwood Springs City Council assures |

Community garden site safe for now, Glenwood Springs City Council assures

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While city leaders want to leave the door open for a golf driving range behind the Community Center, the current community garden site is not at risk, City Council assured garden users last week.

“There was never any intention of not having a community garden, so I want to put those fears at bay,” Mayor Bruce Christensen said at the Dec. 2 council meeting, which was attended by several garden users.

The mayor was responding to a flurry of e-mails to council members expressing concern that the 1.5-acre garden site south of the Glenwood Springs Community Center might be eliminated after just its first season.

City staff will work with the garden group to draw up a new, more formal use agreement to replace the one that was hastily put in place last spring to allow the garden to operate this year.

Council agreed to terminate the existing lease and will consider a new agreement within 90 days that would allow the community garden to continue at the current site. The agreement will be reviewed after two years.

One accommodation will be to ensure the garden doesn’t eliminate the future possibility of a driving range that has also been proposed by a private operator for city property in the vicinity.

“We need to clarify the rights and obligations, and get something in place that will work for everyone,” Christensen said.

“But one thing shouldn’t preclude another out there,” he said. “My hope is that we would make this work for everyone.”

Garden users told stories of how the community garden has created bonding experiences for families and between residents, and even served as a form of therapy for a recovering alcoholic.

“Through the community garden we’ve been able to grow community, as well as teach our children the value of producing and consuming our own,” said Glenwood resident Kevin White.

Marilee Rippy, who is president of the local community garden group, said the garden has served to spawn other community gardens in neighborhoods around Glenwood as well.

While the fenced area could eventually accommodate more than 60 garden plots, the upper section would need some significant grading to be usable, Rippy said.

But that’s also where the city may need to reclaim some land to accommodate the future driving range. So far, though, the city hasn’t seen what it considers a viable option for the driving range plan.

The garden, on the other hand, has already proven itself to be a community asset in just one growing season, City Council members said.

“Gardening is a collegial activity, and I would like to see this agreement in place so your success can be expanded on,” Councilman Stephen Bershenyi said.

Added Councilman Dave Sturges, “I think it’s been a huge success, and I want to see the effort continue.

“This is an opportunity for this community to show the best of what it’s got,” he said.

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