There are over 1000 Dayton residents who have personally done physical labor to build Garden Station and over 100 community groups and businesses who have contributed to its creation! Garden Station uniquely represents the heart and soul of Dayton better than any other place in our city, through unique local artwork, music, community events and connecting our citizens to each other! Like the Whos in the beloved Dr. Seuss book “Horton Hears a Who” we need to make our voices heard that WE ARE HERE!
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It is with a heavy heart that I must let all our supporters know of plans of the City of Dayton to potentially destroy Garden Station in its current form to make way for future “development”.
Last year the City purchased the whole block south of us, the old HD building, and I was leery of their intent. I invited City officials on tours of Garden Station and inquired about future plans that might affect us. I was assured that they were looking at the block south of us for development and not the property we lease. In January I was informed of the posted RFQ “as a courtesy” by the Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein and asked for meetings with her and Nan Whaley. Their position was that we are on development property and in order to attract the best developers they had to include our property as an option, but developers may choose not to use it. They were supposed to let me know who submitted proposals after the January 31st deadline but I have not heard back.
Recently I have heard through the grapevine that a developer has been selected and plans are made. I do not know what those plans are but have heard from many community leaders including priority board members that once the city announces their plans it is often too late to act.
I am asking you, our supporters and creators to ACT by calling, emailing and mailing our officials to ask for:
1. Garden Station to remain on the site we currently occupy as an amenity to potential housing/retail developments on the block south of us as well as existing residents.
2. Furthermore that our property be preserved as green space under a land trust organization, with occupancy by Garden Station as long as the property is maintained at an acceptable level.
3. Include your reasons for keeping Garden Station and tell what your personal connections are to Garden Station
SOME BENEFITS OF OUR “DEVELOPMENT” AS GARDEN STATION TO THE COMMUNITY:
We are a unique attraction in downtown Dayton and have had visitors from all over the world stop to see us. We are on several travel sites including Roadside America and Trip Advisor. So many other “attractions” seem like cookie cutter copies that every city has. We have unique outsider art from all kinds of residents, examples of sustainable building techniques, demonstration gardens including a new food forest, a permaculture fixture that other cities brag about http://www.weather.com/home-garden/beacon-food-forest-20130620 , and we host all kinds of community groups from elementary students to UD and Sinclair student to the AARP.
We are providing education and demonstration of sustainable living practices in a time where more and more people are realizing the environmental frailty and nutrition-lacking aspects of our current food system. Our EarthFest was the largest Earth Day festival ever held in Dayton with over 30 free workshops for the public and over 30 local organizations participating. We are educating our neighbors to become more food secure and developing a more resilient local food system by training urban farmers in partnership with Omega CDC, Antioch College and Miami University. We are providing fresh, local organic food from our gardens to the public on Sundays when there is no other outlet for local food available in Montgomery County. We are providing fresh local organic food to seniors at Jaycee Towers and have the only rentable wheelchair accessible community garden plots in the area. Over 20 neighbors have community garden plots at Garden Station as well, including many urban dwellers without green space of their own.
We serve as an outdoor community center hosting all kinds of community organizations including meetings and non-profit fundraisers, art and music festivals, free music for First Friday featuring local bands, the Really Really Free Market, workshops, community potlucks, bonfires, rallies, weddings and more. Students from all over the Miami Valley from Elementary School to University have come for tours and volunteer days to learn gardening, art and green construction techniques.
We are an urban green space that serves all our area residents, created entirely by over 1000 community volunteers and donations, and over 100 community organizations and businesses.
Garden Station is created BY the community, FOR the community!