An effort to transform a small portion of Greenwich’s open space into a community garden got another approval last week when the Board of Selectmen gave it a unanimous blessing.
At their July 25 meeting, the selectmen approved a lease with the town that will allow this project to go forward. The garden, if it makes it through the town approval process, would be located at 129 Bible Street, which is part of the Montgomery Pinetum property. That property, which was once the controversial proposed site of a cell tower, was deeded to the town to be preserved as open space and the Garden Education Center is already located there.
The project is being pushed by the Greenwich Community Gardens Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 that already has a thriving garden at Armstrong Court, which just marked its fifth anniversary. Patty Sechi, executive director for the organization, was not at the meeting but her contribution was certainly noted.
“That garden has proven exceedingly successful in utilizing what had been a garden many years ago but had lay dormant ever since,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said at the meeting. “Patty galvanized community resources, non-profit garden clubs and even Whole Foods Markets and transformed a piece of property under the aegis of the town Housing Authority into something truly inspiring and beneficial. This proposal, I think, has the opportunity to exceed the one at Armstrong Court in its benefit to the community.”
Selectman David Theis said he was excited by the idea.
“As a lifelong resident, I find this is keeping with the spirit of the community,” Mr. Theis said. “This is a place for everyone to fit in and make their lives more enjoyable while enriching the community at the same time.”
The selectmen’s support was no surprise, though, since this was not the first time this project had come before them. Earlier the selectmen had approved municipal improvement status for the project. Now the project has advanced to the point where the lease may be brought to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), which has final say on all town leases.
According to attorney Rick Margenot, who is representing Greenwich Community Gardens Inc., the lease would be for 10 years, with one right to renew for 10 more years that would be subject to town approval. He said there is also a mutual termination clause in the lease that allows for the town to ask the group to leave the property if it sees fit.
“We don’t intend to tie this property up forever for cheap,” Mr. Margenot said. “If the town decides it needs it for another use it can come to us. This is written to incentivize us to do a good job and be an example of how to maintain town property.” (more…)