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Growing a community

Between now and spring, the parcel, which OLBH purchased from Phil and Joy Montroso in May for $14,500, will be subdivided into approximately 30 raised beds with gravel paths between the beds.

Gardens give opportunities to many

Today the vacant corner lot at Seventh and Adams streets blooms only in crabgrass, a couple of aging trees and a few campaign signs.

But this time next year a group of volunteers wants all that to be different.

That’s when the 44-by-132 foot lot is transformed into Ironton’s first community garden, available to wannabe gardeners who have everything except a place to plant.

“It is a concept we have been working on,” Carol Allen, president of Ironton In Bloom, said. “But didn’t until we got the land free and clear.”

Now on Sunday, Sept. 23, those potential tillers of the soil will get a chance to see the lay of the land during a dedication ceremony starting at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. will be the ribbon cutting with a blessing from Father David Huffman.

“This has an economic value,” Allen said. “For some people it gives them the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables to put on the table. If you live in an apartment or have a piece of land not suitable to develop a garden, you don’t garden.”

But through a partnership with Ironton in Bloom and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospitals Healthy Community Initiative, the community garden will become a reality next spring.

“Bellefonte hospital owns the land,” Allen said. “We are simply partnering with them in helping with the publicity and the groundbreaking so people will know what is going on.”

Between now and spring, the parcel, which OLBH purchased from Phil and Joy Montroso in May for $14,500, will be subdivided into approximately 30 raised beds with gravel paths between the beds.

The individual gardens will be wheelchair accessible and open on all sides. Funding for the land purchase came from Bon Secours Health System mission fund.

There will be water installed on the site and a shed with individual lockers so gardeners can lock up their tools.

An initial fee will cover the cost of the water and gardeners must sign a contract that they will maintain their plot through the planting season and make it ready for next year’s planting.

During the winter Ironton In Bloom will conduct several informational meetings to explain the concept of the garden and answer questions of those who are interested in having a plot.

“They are doing this all over,” Allen said. “But I think it is the first one in Lawrence County. It is an idea that can take place. It is what you want it to be. And it will bring a lot of joy.”