Should the plans for the renovation of McCord Park retain the Community Garden in its current location?
Parks and Recreation Commission
The Parks and Recreation Commission, through a planning process, identified several amenities they wanted to add or enhance in the redesign of the park. These include two reservable shelters, a half mile multi-use trail, an outfield fence for the adjacent ball diamond, an enlarged soccer/field hockey field, a more centralized playground to serve the ball diamonds, Community Center and new shelters better, and additional green space for events and programs. In trying to add these amenities into a new plan and maintain the existing Community Garden, Commission Members felt it created an overcrowded and cramped design and eventually made the recommendation that of those desired things they would most prefer to relocate the Community Garden to another location as they felt it benefited the smallest group of users of all the desired amenities. Some members also have on-going concerns about the aesthetics of the garden and its visual appeal in a newly renovated park. Members liked the idea of relocating the garden to two or more locations to create easier access for users.
Supporters of the Community Garden in its current location site the eight years of investment of both time and resources into improving soil conditions, building raised beds, adding water access, and various other garden developmental obstacles that have been cleared to get the garden to its current operational level. The idea of relocating and starting a new garden from scratch means starting all over and going through all of those growing pains again including large investments of time and resources. In addition, many gardeners and Sustainable Worthington advocates state having the Community Garden in a busy community park is important not only for the 30 gardeners at a time (74 people total have had a plot over the eight years of operation) but for the message it sends to other park users about the importance of sustainability and the educational aspects of it. Many gardeners say they spend time with other park users educating them about their plots and their gardening methods. A plot is also maintained for the Food Pantry. Community Garden leaders have indicated a willingness to explore ways to improve the aesthetics of the current garden and to work within the design to allow the garden to be more open and accessible to other park users for education and interaction.
The Parks and Recreation Commission recommended the relocation of the Community Garden as a part of their initial plan and identified five possible locations. Their proposal included the preparation of the sites including soil enhancements, assistance with moving, aesthetic fencing, and a transition period for existing gardeners. Their stated goal was to add to the current available garden space in one or two new locations. The locations that are not on city property would be dependent upon agreements with the partnering organization.
Proposed Community Garden Locations:
1. Sharon Township Police Department (E. Wilson Bridge Road)
2. Sharon Township Memorial Hall (161 & Morning)
3. Snouffer Park
4. Linworth Park
5. The Flats (Mirolo Pavilion)