Posted: Saturday, May 17th 2014 at 12:26pm
Green dream: a garden sprouts in midtown
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – Jubilee Farm is the name in his aspiration. “We have a dream; we need some land,” Gainesville resident and attorney Frank Armstrong told the Gainesville City Council at Thursday morning’s work session. “Once we have the dirt we’ll start putting the dream together.”
Armstrong had come to the right place. He, as a board member of the Elachee Nature Science Center, and the City of Gainesville are both partners in the same club: the Hall County Green Alliance.
The Hall County Green Alliance defines itself as a grass roots group of environmentally-concerned citizens from all sectors of the community: private business, government, non-profit organizations and individuals.
Armstrong’s dream has led him to the Gainesville City Council. He wants to bring a community garden to the industrial area of Gainesville, to a site owed by the city, a former railroad track intersection now barren and slightly overgrown.
His one-half-acre vision sits at the corner of Davis and Grove Streets, abutting the southernmost end of Phase 1 of the Midtown Greenway.
Davis said the purpose of the garden was threefold: to green-up the industrial area, to provide produce for those in need, and to create an educational experience.
“Now this is just a concept at this point,” Armstrong said, “but our intent is to provide for four beneficiary partners: Good News at Noon Shelter, the Junior Service League, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, and the Good News Clinic.”
“We fully realize that this is a ‘brown-field’ area. This has been designated ‘brown-field’, and that there are certain environmental concerns and regulations that would have to be complied with,” Armstrong said.
“We do not propose…disturbing the subsoil of this particular lot. We believe that we should have raised garden beds with drip irrigation.”
A conceptual design for the site has previously been approved by the Georgia DOT and includes a parking lot on the site of the desired garden plot. The parking lot would need to be relocated.
“We propose that we go to the DOT as soon as possible (DOT has final approval over design and use of the site)…and satisfy whatever environmental concerns there are,” Armstrong added.
“We hope this will be a pilot project. Gainesville is always on the leading edge. I see a lot of Eagle Scout projects here,” Armstrong said.
Hannah Parker, Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry at Good News at Noon, agreed wholeheartedly. “I have a club of second grade students that are very excited about being part of the garden.”
“This is excellent material,” Armstrong said. “This is the kind of project, like Eagle Ranch and Elachee, that you can get grants because it is for the good of everybody.”
“We will eagerly await your advice as to where we go from here and we will be glad to undertake whatever it takes,” Armstrong said, thanking the Council.
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