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On April 23, 2013, I asked the City Council’s permission for a very old Community vegetable garden to be preserved. They granted permission. On April 25, 2013, The City of Englewood removed the topsoil from this historic garden plot in the 4th Ward for a 2nd time. They returned with a machine that packed down the remaining soil. A hard rain followed and replaced this beautiful Century old vegetable garden with a pool of standing water and mud. This destruction has created a dangerous little pond of standing water that will draw mosquitoes to the neighborhood. Volunteers and the City are slowly bringing back topsoil, but we are worried that the plot is still not safe from City workers following orders. Please sign this petition asking the Englewood City Council to designate the Genesee/Lafayette Garden as an historic and protected Community run garden site. We must convince the City Council to designate this as an historic protected space for Community vegetable gardening in order to facilitate Community healing and nurture trust in our elected and salaried officials. The Garden located at Genesee Avenue and Lafayette Place, in Englewood New Jersey has been in existence for over 100 years. There is no one alive who remembers when the garden was not there. When I moved here in 1967, my grandma and I visited the Garden on the way home from visiting her 1st cousin who lived on Franklin Road. She told me the story of a man named Mr. Bacote who used to drive a horse drawn wagon and cared for the garden. I spoke with Arnold Brown, who is 81 years old and has the longest Englewood family history of anyone I know. He does not remember a time when the garden was not there. Over the years the garden has been nurtured by various people. One of the gentlemen nurturing the garden in recent years has history there since 1975. The garden has a special place in the hearts of 4th Ward residents and new comers. Businesses in the area have made lunches from the produce and are willing to help restore it. The plot has always been too small for a house so it has escaped sale. It is not a lot to ask. I have never seen car tires, mattresses or any of the normal eyesore garbage collect here. It is in a well traveled area and serves as a pleasant and beautiful gateway attraction to our neighborhood.
Wayne Hamer, Councilman 4th Ward
Frank Huttle III, Mayor
Lynne Algrant, Council at Large
Marc Forman, Councilman 1st Ward
Eugene Skurnick, Councilman 3rd Ward
Michael D. Cohen, Councilman 2nd Ward
Timothy J. Dacey, City Manager
Loretta Weinberg, Senator 37 District
Norman Davis, President, Englewood Historical Society
Lucy D. Walker
Designate as historic & protect Century Old Community Garden Plot
The growing season was missed this year. We are still trying to ready the soil for spring. Some things happen for a reason. We are gathering more families to participate in the garden hopes of teaching children the value of growing and eating fresh healthy food. We are planning a mural contest depicting the history of the garden and the importance of this history to the community. Hopefully, we will get permission from the City and the neighbor have the children paint this mural on the side of the garden. It will be something pretty to look at during the winter months.
Help may be on the way to help break through the hard ground packed down by the many passes of far to many heavy machines. There is hope.
The garden roto tiller was no match for the hard ground.
Ah, Spring. The flowers are in bloom, love is in the air, and Earth Day is just around the corner. Celebrate this Earth Day by hosting a screening of Dirt! The Movie in your community - at your local library, arboretum, community center or church.
At the City Council Meeting last night it was quite clear that there was little concern over the growing health hazard that used to be our historic garden. Any discussion was put off to the workshop meeting to be held on June 11, 2013. After the primary. Don't you just love politicians? No, really?
Met with the 4th Ward Council man today. He seemed friendly enough to the idea. He wants a more structured and planned garden. He did sign the petition. I guess that is something. We discussed how to proceed from here. Meanwhile, the garden looks a mess because of the topsoil removal and the lack of drainage. It is going to take a lot of work and cooperation betweent he city and the residents.
Saturday, May 11, 2013, I got a call telling me that we had topsoil coming to the garden in 1 hour. I called my friends and fellow activists, made my coffee and got myself together. I picked up Crystal Brown and headed to the Garden.
Friday, May 3, 2013, I was called to the Genesee/Lafayette Garden by a friend who works closely on Englewood's Garden Project with Lynne Algrant, Englewood's Council at Large. She had been told that someone was coming to repair the garden that day.
On Sunday, April 28, 2013, Council Wayne Hamer and members of the 4th and 3rd Ward Communities met at the Genesee/Lafayette Place Garden. We tried to make some sense out of the destruction of what we consider a Landmark. We comforted each other and spoke of proceeding forward through the healing process.
Tuesday April 23 at the City Council Meeting I asked some questions that seemed to anger Tim Dacey, the Englewood City Manager. I have been to City Council meetings and watched other people complain and ask questions and they are not treated the way Mr. Dacey treated me.
This Century or more old garden got caught up in a political campaign. Does anyone remember Mr. Bacote and his horse drawn wagon? He is the earliest caretaker of this spot that anyone can remember. The photo to the right was taken at Councilman Wayne Hamer's First 4th Ward Town Hall at Community Baptist Church.
This morning started the leveling of the returned topsoil. We still need more. They returned less than they took away. The Workers are pleasant and genuinely want to help. We hope the Politicians are going to do what is right. We will need volunteers to help the old gentleman who has been running the plot since 1975 get caught up with the season. We will have to be more diligent and make sure the garden is never an eyesore. It is hoped that the people who do not appreciate the value of growing things will come to understand that there is a dormant season.
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