Council plans public garden
January 21. 2014 10:31AM
The City of Dell Rapids is setting aside some public land for a community garden.
The Dell Rapids City Council earlier this month authorized using about an acre of city property near the Big Sioux River for the project, which would establish garden plots to the east of the ball fields on west Park Avenue.
The council undertook the project at the request of councilor Lee Burggraff.
“This might take a year or so, but I think it’s going to catch on and you’re going to see a lot of people use it,” he said.
Residents will have an opportunity to claim a plot each spring for a fee that has yet to be determined. City administrator Justin Weiland said it’s not clear how many plots will be available.
Officials at City Hall are working out other details too, like plot sizes, and the city’s role in maintaining the garden.
Weiland said public resources likely will be used for tilling the plots and readying the area for more public traffic.
Irrigation needs might also force the city to spend some money on the project.
“The first year to set this thing up, it’s going to cost us a little money,” Burggraff said. “That’s the way it is.”
Weiland said although there are water sources in the area – a water spigot in between the ball fields and the river – but neither is ideal.
“With that bank, it’s kind of difficult to access the river on that side. There’s quite a drop off,” he said. “If you want to provide water, you’d have to trench a line in.”
It was suggested waiting until the second year of the garden before spending money on irrigation to gauge the community’s interest in the project. But Weiland said he expects interest to be low without convenient access to water.
“The problem is that you’re not going to have interest if you can’t grow anything, and you can’t grow anything without water,” he said.
Burggraff recommended placing a water tank on site for gardeners to use.
Councilor Mark Crisp agreed the garden needs a water source, but added it should be running water.
“If we’re going to do it, we’re going to have to have a hydrant with running water,” he said.
The council was expected to revisit project details at Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall.