Community gardens project gets green light
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – Green thumbs, rejoice. In a unanimous vote at its meeting last week, the De Pere Common Council gave the grow-ahead to the proposed community gardens project.
The gardens are slated for 9,000 square feet of city-owned land off Lions Trailside Park, 863 Killarny Trail, and could be ready for planting as early as next spring.
The Brown County UW-Extension’s community gardens program will administer the project, and the De Pere Lions Club has pledged support for funding it.
Representatives from the Brown County UW-Extension and Lions Club spoke about the proposal to the Board of Park Commissioners in September, and the board recommended that the Common Council allow the community gardens project to go ahead.
Margaret Franchino, coordinator of the Brown County UW-Extension Community Gardens Program, said the program has fielded many requests from De Pere residents to expand the program in De Pere.
“We have 10 locations throughout the community, but none in De Pere,” she told the park commissioners.
According to the agreement drawn up by the city attorney:
• The city will be responsible for plowing and tilling each spring to ensure the soil is fit for planting;
• The county will provide a large water tank at the property, but the city will be in charge of keeping it filled with water;
• Pets other than service or support animals won’t be allowed at the site;
• The county and city won’t be able to use weed killer on the site; and
• The initial term of the agreement is for the first growing season, from April 1 to Dec. 1, 2019, and will be automatically renewed in subsequent years until or unless one or more parties decides to terminate the agreement.
In other Common Council news, the The city of De Pere will assume ownership of the storm water retention pond near Susie C. Altmayer Elementary School, 3001 Ryan Road, from the Unified School District of De Pere.
It means the city, rather than the school district, will be responsible for maintaining the pond.
The Unified School District of De Pere discussed the transfer at its most recent meeting last week, and the De Pere Common Council voted unanimously to accept the agreement at its meeting the following night.
A new residential development north of the school, adjacent to Ryan Road, needs a storm water retention pond for its own storm water management, due to the extension of city water and sewer mains to the development, so the city will enlarge the existing pond.
The pond will be able to accommodate future construction at the school.
Both the school and the subdivision will use the pond.
The pond services 13.1 acres of district land, of which 40 percent is impervious to water, according to the school district.
City of De Pere Clerk-Treasurer Shana Ledvina reported high voter turnout in De Pere at the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
“We had 77 percent turnout for registered voters in De Pere,” she said, adding that some 1,500 new voters registered to vote in De Pere.
The total voter turnout number for De Pere was just 1,400 voters shy of the number that turned out for the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, she said.