Nearly six months after heralding the success of morphing two plots of land into blooming community gardens, a local group has gained a third site to make it happen again.
The City Council this week approved allowing an unused piece of public land along the Ventura (134) Freeway to be transformed into a garden, operated under the banner of Monterey Road Eco-Community Gardens.
“It feels great. There’s a lot of demand,” said Alek Bartrosouf, chairman of the group’s steering committee.
The new site at 630 Geneva St., about a half-mile from the first site dedicated in July 2009, will have 13 spots, all of which have already been filled. The gardening group has a 100-person waiting list.
There are 38 filled planting beds at the two other sites — “Monterey East” at 870 Monterey Road and “Monterey West,” 827 Monterey Road.
Once the plots are taken, it’s tough to get off the waiting list, Bartrosouf said.
“The only time people really come off the list is when we make a new garden,” he said.
While the gardens don’t have an ongoing fiscal impact on the city — which operates two community gardens of its own at Palmer and Verdugo parks — if more gardens are created, it would require more oversight and project management from city staffers, according to a city report.
That would present workload problems for city officials given the recent round of staff cuts at City Hall, the report warned.
The city received a $20,000-grant for the construction of the latest garden from Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit focused on the environment. The land is being leased to the Los Angeles Community Garden Council for $1 a year, but local gardeners are in charge of operating the sites.
Gardeners who have a plot pay $80 a year and a $20-deposit to cover operations, maintenance and water bills.
Councilwoman Laura Friedman said she was happy to see the third community garden take shape because it gives people who live in an urban setting without yards the ability to “have their own little piece of earth."
-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News