• 45°

Community garden accepting applications

Biting into a fresh tomato, grown with love and care with a person’s own two hands, is an experience once enjoyed by most everyone, but one that has faded from today’s society.

Area groups have come together to help bring the love of gardening back to the Ironton community though what will be the city’s only community garden.

Construction is set to begin in the next two weeks, with the garden ready for planting in May.

Diva Justice, director of the healthy community initiative for Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., said she is happy to help bring such a positive thing to the Ironton community.

“We’ve had a good response,” Justice said. “We’ve had a lot of plots already signed up for, so it doesn’t seem like we will have a problem filling it up.”

Justice said the majority of the gated garden complex will be paved to allow for wheelchair access, and some of the raised beds will be designed for those in wheelchairs or those not able to bend over to be able to work with relative ease.

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and its parent corporation, Bon Secours Health System, donated the necessary funds to make the community garden project a reality. Ironton in Bloom, the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization and other community-minded groups have all joined in to help grow the idea of a community garden to fruition.

Beth Edwards, operator of Mended Reeds Home in Ironton, said she had been looking into starting a community garden for awhile, but was happy to see someone had already ran with the idea.

“I had a garden at a facility I used to work at, and it worked very well there,” Edwards said. “I was going to go to the mayor, to council meetings and bring up how a community garden is good for the people involved, but then I heard about this garden and knew it was something I’d want to be a part of.”

Working with youth, Edwards said it is amazing the difference that growing something, tending to it and then seeing hard work pay off can make in them.

The garden will be on the corner of Seventh and Adams streets, a location chosen by Ironton in Bloom due to the location of nearby high-rise metropolitan housing, Carol Allen, Ironton in Bloom president, said.

“This is just a great way to bring the community together,” Allen said. “Because that’s what we hope this is, a community place. We want people to grow their gardens, but also want them to grow relationships.”

The garden will be part of a gated complex, with keys given out to plot owners, Justice said. While some last-minute details are still being worked out, Justice said the majority of the plots will be 4 x 8 feet and will come with a $20 fee to help pay garden expenses.