Community garden plan growing roots | SteamboatToday.com

Community garden plan growing roots

Commissioners give tentative OK to community vegetable plot

Leadership Steamboat has plans to convert two county-owned lots on Oak Street into a community vegetable garden. The parcel is bounded on the west by Butcherknife Creek.

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners gave its tentative blessing Monday to a new community vegetable garden being germinated by Leadership Steamboat.

The garden would offer raised beds on two county-owned lots on the south side of the 600 block of Oak Street in downtown Steamboat Springs. The details of how families or organizations would secure their plots are yet to be determined. However, the garden could consist of 10 to 20 plots, with gardeners paying a modest seasonal rent.

"We hope this will set an example for the community," said Caitlyn McKenzie, a member of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's Leadership Steamboat group. "You can grow a garden in this town. You can have produce."

Organizers are optimistic they will receive funding from a broader community wellness grant to cover the cost of making the site ready and building raised gardens.

"We hope there will be funding for Leadership Steamboat's garden," Barb Parnell said. "The grant is not yet in place."

Parnell is the community coordinator for the nonprofit Live Well Colorado effort.

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Colorado State University Extension Agent C.J. Mucklow confirmed that his office and its master gardeners would partner with Leadership Steamboat in the community garden.

"We just want to make sure you're OK with it," Mucklow told the commissioners Monday.

The three elected county officials embraced the concept of the garden but withheld final approval until more details are available. Commissioner Doug Monger said he wants to ensure that the county will not incur any expenses related to the project.

"The property has been set aside for a future building expansion," Monger said. "But it's a good benefit to the community, to the downtown landscape, and it's an educational opportunity."

The garden would be built in a space just east of the Christian Science Society and just west of a small house adjacent to Routt County Social Services. A preliminary site plan prepared by Ryan Marsden, a designer with Kelly and Stone Architects, indicates the site will receive ample sunlight for the majority of summer days. Mature trees and shrubs ring the property.

The garden also would offer an informal picnic area along the bank of Butcherknife Creek.

If you go

What: Community Garden

informational meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19

Where: Commissioners Hearing Room in the historic Routt County Courthouse