Richland to get third community garden

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldAugust 25, 2013 

Another community garden is coming to the city of Richland.

The city council recently approved a master plan for about 1.5 acres at the southwest corner of the Stevens-Jadwin Avenue intersection -- an area known as Stevens triangle.

The plan includes a community garden, which will start with 30 garden boxes and could later be expanded.

Home Depot is donating materials and labor, and the Richland stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also will provide volunteers.

The city will add fencing and landscaping. A small parking area also is included in the plan.

"We're excited for this new option," said Maria Gutierrez, chairwoman of Richland's parks and recreation commission. "Stevens triangle is a space where we've been hoping to do something that's productive and attractive for the community. I think this is a very nice fit."

The triangle's northern end was improved as a demonstration xeriscape project by Washington State University students in the 90s, according to a memo from city staff to the council. The southern part, where the community garden will go, is unimproved, with a crushed rock surface, the information said.

The idea is to have the garden ready by next spring, in time for gardening season. The city also has the McMurray Community Garden behind the Safeway on George Washington Way and the Venus Community Garden near Gage Boulevard in south Richland.

"In our park system, we're trying to provide services and facilities that meet the needs of all our population. After the city put in the first community garden at McMurray, it was clear there was demand for more," said Joe Schiessl, parks and recreation director.

Each of the two existing community gardens has about 30 plots, and they're popular among residents.

The city council approved the Stevens triangle master plan during its regular meeting last Tuesday, after discussing the need to speed up the timeline of the fencing and landscaping so they don't lag behind the installation of the garden. Councilman Terry Christensen noted that the area is a gateway to the city and said buffer elements are important, especially during the months when the community garden is in its off-season.

Schiessl told the council that, "we can look at our phasing and bring several phases together into one larger project and deal with the screening issue."

After the meeting, Christensen said he feels good about the community garden project. "I think it can all come out very positive," he said.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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