Whoa… how crazy have the last few days been? The Mayor is in Vegas attending a conference and it appears our City is falling apart. We have green water in Back Creek, home and car break ins, sexual assaults in alleys, people smoking pot on front porches downtown, and a man considered a person of interest in the disappearance of a woman while on holiday, doing inappropriate things in an Annapolis City garage. (We have our own ideas about what business they were heading to or coming from…)
Add to that a movie being filmed at State Circle in downtown Annapolis and the beginning of USNA Commissioning Week 2012 and you’ve got yourself enough small town craziness to last a while. Good thing our population is less than 40 thousand.
But alas, there are some serious issues going on over near the Safeway on Forest Drive.
To sum it up, the City of Annapolis has plans to put a community garden in a City park next to a City playground. The City owned land is located off Bywater Road and is situated between two neighborhoods: Kingsport of Annapolis, a neo-traditional community that offers coastal living with amenities that include a community pool with terrace, spa pool, and grilling area; fishing dock; putting green and playground areas; walking and biking trails; and Bywater Mutual Homes, a community home to qualified families of low and moderate income (HUD Section 8 and Section 236).
And it’s the end of the world to some residents of the Kingsport community much like it was the end of the world for Chris Stelzig and his followers when the City entertained a proposal to build a parking lot on Compromise Street. But unlike Stelzig, the fine folks who oppose the community garden aren’t PR gurus by day and therefore, are on the opposite end of the spectrum from being a word ninja. Don’t believe me? Check out this article and all the comments below it. (Note- it’s lengthy but full of passion. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.) .
The issue is that a community garden is included in the Capital Improvement Program for the City of Annapolis 2012-2017. That along with the Market House improvements, road improvements, other park work, city vehicles, building maintenance, water treatment and a whole lot of other really exciting stuff.
The rumor mill tells me a garden was planned for this space all along, and they saw Grow Annapolis as being able to do all the work as opposed to the City. The garden was part of a long term plan for use of the land, along with the trees planted in the last few years. The opponents have also publicly attacked Grow Annapolis and questioned “who” they are at the last City Council meeting. You know, they’re the same group that did all the work for the downtown community garden and the one that works with the schools to create gardens. You can see all the no good they’re up to on their website.
But to clarify, the line item estimates $140,000 for this project. (Not the $170k some are claiming.) Seems like a lot of money to grow tomatoes, right? But if you read closer, you’ll notice that it’s in the design stage so the money will cover all the planning, designing, as well as infrastructure and so on. Accordingly, the document states: Design Stage: includes the development of any environmental documents, legal documents, construction plans and specifications, and a detailed construction budget.
The proposed project, #378, is included in the long-term capital program. That being said, Many of these projects are subject to more careful scope definition and management review. These projects, generally identified via area plans or other planning activity, will be included in the capital budget in future years, depending on priorities, funding availability, and other considerations. They are listed in no particular order.
And continues on, This project will complete the development of the Kingsport Park, a 3-acre parcel donated as part of the Kingsport residential development. The project will provide a 10-car off-street parking area, pathway, linear field, security lighting, landscaping, and park sign. Recommended budget is approximately $140,000.
No where did I see anything about a chain link fence as some have claimed. They question the parking and say if it’s a community garden, then everyone can walk. Correct, to some degree. What if people from outside the immediate neighboring communities want to come play at the playground? I spent an hour there yesterday observing and there was no place for me to park so I parked illegally and hoped I didn’t get a ticket. What if I wanted to take children to the playground or host a pick up frisbee game on that sprawling piece of green space the opponents talk about? There is no place to park. The opponents have also stated that the Kingsport development “donated” the land to the City. I have interpreted the comments as implying that because it was originally their’s, they should still have control over it. And I’ll stop there after reminding them that the land was deeded to the City by the developer as part of the deal before any home was purchased.
There is so much more to this argument. But Annapolis Chatter has been told we’re too political and we’ve been encouraged to have more gossip focused posts, so we’re going to try and bring some more of that to you. As for the garden- I’ll let you decide for yourself. If you are so inclined, please consider writing and/or calling the Mayor and/or your Alderman and sharing your opinion. Here’s their contact info. I wrote mine and told them about my personal experience with community gardening. And if you’re in favor of seeing a community garden go into this area, please sign this petition. I did that, too.
I think I need to send City Council a post script reminding them that there has not been any indecent exposure down at the garden… yet!