CITY OF SANFORD: Gardens may grow in city's empty lots

Mar. 30, 2013 @ 01:37 PM

Pending the green light from city council Tuesday, Sanford may see more green thumbs around town.

A community garden policy, among other items, is slated for discussion at Sanford City Council's 7 p.m. meeting at the local municipal center, located at 224 E. Weatherspoon St.  

The City of Sanford owns several vacant lots that could be used for community gardens, said City Manager Hal Hegwer, improving quality of life and the appearance of neighborhoods.

"The property is owned by the city taxpayers," he said. "If [a community garden] is something beneficial and worthwhile, making a more united community, then it has served its public purpose."

Interested individuals can lease the lot for a dollar a year as long as the garden is well tended, according to the proposed policy. Each lessee is encouraged to contribute the surplus produce to a local food bank or soup kitchen, and no illegal, poisonous or highly aggressive plants are allowed.

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said she hopes council approves the policy and that the idea generates excitement in neighborhoods.

"It's involvement in the community by the community," she said, adding, "we are always encouraging that type of approach of neighbor helping neighbor."

Successful community gardens have already sprouted around town as more clubs and organizations are encouraged to plant produce, flowers and herbs, Olive said.

"The [garden] on Hudson Avenue has done some really innovative things," she said. "They built one of the plant beds up; it was about knee high so people with handicaps could tend that garden area."

People interested in leasing a lot can contact Sanford Public Works Administrator Laura Spivey at (919) 777-1116 for more information.

The full draft policy and list of lots is available online at www.sanfordherald.com.

Other items on Tuesday's agenda include:

* Consideration of a resolution to temporarily close streets for the East Sanford Cleanup and Block Party April 13.

* Consideration of several applications to rezone tracts of land on Dalrymple Street, Washington Avenue and Beechtree Drive.