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City gets community garden set for growth

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Committee setting rules, price structure for site on Harrison Avenue

By Ben Wiebesiek

FORT LUPTON — The city has acquired a site for a planned community garden this year at 438 Harrison Ave.

Fort Lupton councilman Kevin Schwickrath said the organizers overseeing the project were in the process of finalizing the guidelines for the public.

“We’ve formed a small committee of people who are all working trying to figure out what rules and price structures we want to work with. We have the land; it’s already in our possession,” Schwickrath said. “We’re just about ready to start taking orders for plots.”

 

The number of available plots will be determined by the sizes of the selected plots.

“Right now we’re looking at somewhere between 25 to 35 plots,” Schwickrath said. “It really depends on what plot size people want for their individual plots.”

Schwickrath said that the committee already had a vision of how the price structure would look depending on the plot size a resident prefers.

“We’re already got a loose price structure; right now it’s based on the square footage of the plot,” Schwickrath said. “So for example, if you have a plot that’s 17 square feet or under, it would be around $25 per year. 18 square feet to 22 square feet would be about $35 per year. 23 to 36 would be $45 per year. Anything over 37 would be $75 a year.”

The garden project is offering a discounted fee for seniors, active duty/retired military, or members of the community that are unable to afford the full fee.

The vacant lot the city acquired sits near the middle of the block in a residential neighborhood west of the railroad track and north of 1st Street.

“Since this is our first year, what we’re trying to see is what plot sizes people typically want because we have no idea what people are after,” Schwickrath said. “So we’re going to wait and see what everyone is asking for, and then we’ll do the final plot layout based on what we get requests for.”

Although the specifics are still being finalized, Schwickrath recommended that interested residents should voice their interest soon.

“I would say contact me now,” Schwickrath said. “We’re taking applications immediately.”

Because it’s the first year for the community garden project and the city is gauging resident interest level, there won’t be a set closing date for garden plot reservations.

“But next year, it would somewhere in April or so that we would want to close out any new applications,” Schwickrath said. 

The work to prepare the garden is being done on a volunteer basis, Schwickrath said.

“I’m personally footing the water bill, so I’ve got other people donating time, donating material,” Schwickrath said. “We’re collecting all the material, we’re collecting all the people who want to volunteer for it and help build it out, because it hasn’t been built out yet. The only reason we collect money is to pay the water bill and to do enhancements on the property. So it’s a net zero, saying nobody is making any money on it.”

Although this is the community garden’s first year in operation, Schwickrath said other groups have tried in recent years to get similar projects off the ground.

“A number of groups tried to start one up around 2010, but they couldn’t get all the pieces together,” Schwickrath said. “I’ve been able to kind of rope some of those guys in and bring them into this project. As far as I know, this is the first community garden in Fort Lupton, but there may have been one in the past. I haven’t been a resident of Fort Lupton forever, but this is definitely the only one in recent history.”

In addition to garden plots for residents, Schwickrath said the community garden would also feature a space for the tiny green thumbs in the community.

“We’re also going to have something called the Kids Corner,” Schwickrath said. “This will be where kids can come and work in the garden plots, and we’ll have classes on Saturdays, maybe one or two a month, where we’ll have different themes we’ll try to teach kids about planting and how food is grown and about weeds and bugs and things like that. This is designed for the whole family to be education for kids and adults alike.”

To learn more about the 2014 Fort Lupton Community Garden, visit www.fortluptongarden.com.

To reserve a plot in the community garden, contact Fort Lupton councilman Kevin Schwickrath at 720-227-5521.