Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garden plot thickens

Design close to being finalized

Express Staff Writer

A community garden is proposed for the quarter-acre site of the former Blaine County Sheriff's Office in Hailey. The garden, which has been approved by the Blaine County Commission, would be managed by the Hunger Coalition and designed with help from Hailey-based landscape firm Native Landscapes. The current plan is for the gardenís groundbreaking to take place May 1. Courtesy graphic

A community garden proposed for the site of the former sheriff's office building in Hailey took a step closer toward reality Tuesday when the Blaine County Commission got a look at a design put together by Hailey-based landscape-architecture firm Native Landscapes.

At a meeting at the Old County Courthouse, Native Landscapes' Jacob Thomas and Hunger Coalition President Brooke Bonner presented the most recent draft design for the garden, a result of a number of public workshops and community input.

The garden is to be located on a quarter-acre site at the corner of First Avenue and Walnut Street.

As proposed, it would include a garden and native landscape park, with individual garden beds dedicated to growing produce, native landscaping beds with educational signs, a small fruit orchard and compost bins.

In February, the County Commission chose the Hunger Coalition to manage the garden.

The design, of which the commissioners largely approved with a few minor concerns, shows the garden ringed on three sides by a buffer of native landscape. The east side, along Second Avenue, would have an orchard and area for planters.

Other notable features include pathways accessible to wheelchairs, a trellis running through the middle of the lot, a storage shed and greenhouse area, and demonstration gardens for trying new plants for production.

"There's such a buzz around this project," Bonner said. "We already have 20 people on a list and haven't even put out a call for volunteers yet, so I don't think labor will be a problem."

The commissioners' main concern was continued maintenance of the site. They said they wanted assurance that the garden, especially during construction, remain aesthetically pleasing, given that it's adjacent to the Old County Courthouse.

"Overall, I think it's an excellent plan," Commissioner Tom Bowman said. "You should be sure not to disturb anything existing unless it can be immediately replaced."

Bonner said the plan will be implemented over time as donations of money and materials allow.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for May 1.

Jon Duval:

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