At the April Park and Recreation Commission meeting, there was a discussion about the Community Garden. Do you know about the Community Garden? It is located across the street from the Weatherstone development on Westover Lane, in the area of where the builder of Weatherstone, Hankin, was obligated to build a berm and plant trees, but didn't. The Community Garden was so overgrown last year that anything to shield it would have been welcome.
In this meeting, there were some interesting facts released:
  1. The Community Garden had a total budget of $10,000 tax dollars to develop when it was adopted last year.
  2. The final amount spent on the Community Garden was approximately $34,000 upon "completion" last year.
  3. The cost overrun SO far is at least $24,000 tax dollars.

  4. The actual cost of the garden to date is indeterminable because the Public Works Department worked on the project and there doesn't seem to be a record of how many hours the crew invested in the infrastructure.
  5. There are 25 people signed up this year for a plot, down from 35 last year, a decrease in membership of 30%
  6. Plot rental is $35/year for at total annual income of $875 at this point in time.
  7. There are 50 plots available, in total.
  8. The water bill (refilling the water tank) for last year was approximately $1200.00
There have been times when the members of the Community Garden have forgotten to turn off the water, draining the tank.

The lead on the Community Garden is Park and Rec member Bill Dietrich. Mr. Dietrich has been lobbying vigorously for public water to be plumbed to the Community Garden. Estimated cost was originally around $11,000 but last year's Township Administration came up with an estimate of around $7000 to do the work to install the water. Why the change? Because the road crew will do part of the work, making it sound like that work is "free", but it is just a matter of whether a contractor or the Township employees get paid. This is just like #4 listed above. One member of the audience asked if this project was going to be like the Blackhorse Road repaving job. It was originally estimated at $75,000 if the Road Crew did the work with DL Fleck, the contractor that the Township used year after year without proper bonding. The final tally was almost $205,000. Think it can't happen again? #3 in the above list supports that it already has.

That is only half of this Community Garden debacle. Coming soon, Part 2.

Best Wishes


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