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Article updated: 1/18/2013 11:10 AM

Libertyville finalizing plans for community garden

By Mick Zawislak

Those who have the will but not the space to plant will have an option this spring as the community garden makes a comeback in Libertyville.

Details are being finalized between the village and The Chapel to make space available off Winchester Road just east of Route 45, where those interested in growing their own food will be able to lease space.

Plots of 10 feet by 20 feet or 20 feet by 20 feet are expected to be offered for lease for the 2013 growing season on a first-come, first-served basis on land adjacent to the Chapel's campus on American Way.

"It's unused space, farm land that has laid fallow for some years now," said Roger Afman, facilities manager. There is room for about 100 plots on about 1.5 acres.

The church for the past two years has grown food at the Libertyville site for its community care center in Grayslake. For the past several months, the Chapel, village staff and the Gardeners of Central Lake County have been working on the concept of a community garden, which has been absent in Libertyville for several years.

"The last idea we looked at was doing something closer to downtown, basically on top of the train tracks, and that wasn't such a good location," said village Trustee Jim Moran, who chairs the village board's special projects committee.

The committee had directed the staff to find a way to create a community garden at low or no cost to the village. The result is a collaboration in which The Chapel provides the land, the gardening club will handle daily management and the village will register users, collect fees and provide signage and marketing. Most of the fee, tentatively considered at $35, would be used to reimburse the Chapel for water and other costs.

"There's plenty of room there, plus there's water and plenty of parking," Moran said. "It's a fun and economical way to get food." The committee earlier this month, by a 3-0 vote, recommended approval of the arrangement.

Afman envisions the operation as a social gathering spot, and plans for gardening classes and other features are in the works. The village board will formally consider the matter at its meeting Tuesday.

"The cool thing is we'll have a community garden this spring," Moran said.

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