Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-04-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 LINCOLN APRIL 4-10, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION LINCOLN – Members of Lincoln's Community Garden lamented the town's decision last month to revoke access to the garden "until further notice" following a growing season filled with disputes, but this week Town Administrator Joe Almond said the garden will reopen under the control of the town's Department of Public Works. For the last year the garden was under the control of the Conservation Commission, whose members clashed with gardeners over the enforcement of rules and assigning of plots. Almond said he wouldn't describe the decision to turn over control to the DPW as per- manent, but said "it's a restart." "We don't want to repeat the same mistakes of the past," he said. When the garden was closed to the public following the disagree- ments last summer, Almond said he determined the best solution for now would be to direct control of the garden back to his administration, instead of a volunteer commission. Management of the garden would be consistent with the town's laws and ordinances that give the admin- istration control of town properties. Public Works Director Michael Gagnon is working to put some basic rules in place on the usage of the garden. "I want to try to keep it simple," said Gagnon, who holds a bachelor's degree is plant science and said he may be able to offer some advice to growers. He said he's mostly looking to limit pesticide use, control things like water usage and ensure that the site is kept safe and clean. "Essentially, if someone does not want to abide by the rules they will not be re-assigned a plot the follow- ing year," Almond said. Current gardeners will be asked to re-register for this year's season with the town, but all current gardeners will be able to keep their current plot. There are also four unclaimed plots available this year that can be applied for through Gagnon. If the number of applications exceeds the number of plots, they'll be awarded through a lottery system. Almond said going forward the town plans to evaluate how to best run the garden. Officials are considering bringing in a community garden organization or other nonprofit to manage things next year. "Our feeling right now is to give people the green light to garden for right now, and take this year to eval- uate what next steps should be taken as far as control and management," he said. "It may work fine and we may leave it alone." Almond said there are restrictions on the land under a preservation easement that, by his interpreta- tion, mandate that the land remain unchanged. This, he said, means the garden can't be expanded much beyond its current footprint and options such as retail gardening would be prohibited. "The (Thibodeau) family wanted their farm to be preserved historical- ly the way they sold it; our funding locked that in," he said. "We want to have a community garden, but we're limited." DPW takes over Lincoln's Community Garden By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer nicole@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY NICOLE DOTZENROD READY TO GROW: Lincoln's Community Garden, now under the control of the town's Department of Public Works, will open this growing season after it was closed until further notice this winter. There are four plots available, which can be applied for through DPW. Visit the Easter Bunny at Lincoln Mall Saturday, April 6th through Saturday, April 20th 622 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI Monday - Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. www.discoverlincolnmall.com Photos available!

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