Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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February 18, 2013

Plan submitted for Washburn Street community garden


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The gist is that IGC will, through donations, supply and set up the garden infrastructure — raised bed frames, fencing, drip irrigation systems, et cetera, as well as plants, seeds, soil and fertilizer — and then turn it all over to churches that commit to keep up the gardens and program. IGC will work with all denominations, Zima said.

For the Washburn Street community garden, IGC has lined up donations of organic soil from C.J. Krantz Topsoil and plants from Thompson Bros. greenhouses in Clarence. The company is buying pre-fabricated raised beds made from recycled materials and UV-resistant so that they're long lasting, Zima said. Families accepted into the program will be free to grow whatever vegetables they choose, but they'll be encouraged to choose one of three suggested "companion" garden schemes for natural protection against bugs and disease.

Raised beds would be awarded to families on an application basis, Zima said. If more than 15 families go after a Washburn bed — as Chapel members believe they will — those who don't get picked would be offered the "first fruits" of the garden this year, in addition to a guaranteed bed next year.

Families that receive a bed will be expected to donate at least 10 percent of their produce to a local soup kitchen or other community charity, Zima said. The remainder is theirs to keep and eat or, if they're game, put up for sale at the city farmers market.

"This isn't meant to be a business, it's to have fun. Growing things is fun," Zima said. "We're designing these gardens almost like a park; (the Washburn garden) is going to be beautiful. It's going to be a place the neighborhood is proud of."

IGC Inc. needs approvals from the zoning and planning boards, and a special use permit from the Common Council, before the Washburn garden is a go. The company wants to buy a portion of 221 Washburn, a parking lot, from Washburn Street Meat Market owner Don Kaufman and have it combined with 225 and 227 Washburn; that requires subdivision approval from the boards. The Council will be asked to approve a special use permit allowing IGC's use of residential-zoned property for agricultural purposes.

The zoning board is meeting on IGC's variance requests Feb. 26.

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