Earl Hoover wants the opportunity and to give others the chance to plant their own vegetables.
The Libertyville resident has approached the Village of Libertyville to assist in creating a community garden that would be developed near the Metra train station.
Hoover said considering the project is in the initial stages, and the village’s Special Projects Committee plans to discuss the garden at their Dec. 13 meeting.
Living at various homes around Libertyville, Hoover said he and wife Ros have always had a vegetable and flower garden. They enjoy a bounty of tomatoes, peppers, corn, Brussels sprouts, squash, eggplant and more. However as the couple plans to move along he said there is not enough space to garden. But he also recognizes there are residents along School Street and through the village who can utilize the garden.
Private Garden too Costly
At first, Hoover considered creating the garden privately. But the costs, such as setting up a nonprofit and insurance would create too high a financial burden on those who want to use the garden. Hoover said he has asked the village if it would be willing to set it up and help shoulder some of the costs involved. The cost would include running water lines and setting up the site including building a path. He estimates cost may range between $1,800 to $2,300.
“It would be too expensive to do it purely as a private enterprise,” Hoover said.
Hoover's plan is to feature 30 plots, each 20-by-10-feet, at the community garden. The garden would be located on the north side of the tracks, and gardeners could use the parking facility on the south side. He added part of discussion with the village is the gardeners would use the village’s parking facility on non-business hours such as weekends or evenings.
Aiming to Keep Costs Low for Gardeners
Hoover said he would like to keep the cost to those who would like to rent a plot to $25 per year adding other villages that feature community gardens charge between $15 and $35. That cost would help defray the village’s water costs and pay back the cost to set up. Hoover added pursuing the garden privately would raise the cost to those who want to use a plot to $60.
Libertyville used to be a farming community and at one time had a community garden across from . Bringing the garden again provides an opportunity to bring residents together, according to Hoover.
“Several other communities have a system whereby as part of your having community garden you need to give a certain portion of your produce to the community. It is a great idea,” he said.
Community Garden Matches SchoolStreet Concept
Through his research, Hoover has spoken with representatives from communities including Antioch, Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Mundelein who have created community gardens. What he has heard is people want a garden but don’t have conditions near their home to succeed.
“They say people in their community want a garden. They support the idea that people have gotten to know each other and it is part of the community tradition,” Hoover said. “This fits well into because the whole idea of School Street is the front porch community and getting to know people.”
Hoover does not consider himself as a crusader pressuring the village to create this garden. He understands first the cost needs to be evaluated.
“I do know that the village trustees are community oriented, and I have to believe that something will be worked out," he said.