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Libertyville Resident Initiates Community Garden

Libertyville resident Earl Hoover will be sharing his idea for creating a community garden near Libertyville's downtown Metra station with the Special Projects Committee at 6 p.m. on Dec. 13.

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.

Donny November 15, 2011 at 02:03 PM
If you like to garden and you choose to live in a home that does not have a 10' by 20' lot, your not the brightest bulb out there are you?
Diane November 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I would be thrilled if Mr. Hoover could nudge the village into once more providing a community garden plot.
Mary Ann Phillips November 15, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Oh, how I miss the Community Garden! Perhaps I'm not the brightest bulb, as Donny so kindly suggests, but the home that I could afford in Libertyville in 1997 did not have a back yard that could accommodate a garden. My little side herb garden didn't have the right light for tomatoes, either. So, way back when, three friends and I had a 40' x 40' space in the community garden, where we grew numerous kinds of tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, carrots, pumpkins, sunflowers, and even some broccoli and brussels sprouts (I snuck the brussels sprouts in under the radar). The weeding and watering were an enormous chore, but the results were gloriously delectable. Also in our general area were recent expats from China who lovingly tended all kinds of amazing Asian melons on a big homemade trellis, as well as all sorts of native greens that weren't available in local markets. Right behind our spot was a retired doctor who grew giant, award-winning dahlias, right there in his little plot of a garden (maybe he wasn't a bright bulb either, but his dahlias were show-stoppers). On a few early summer evenings, my kids ran through the carefully tended rows, just taking in the beautiful sights of the abundant produce. Despite now being teens, they still remember the lovely garden. Thank you, Mr. Hoover, for suggesting another place for this wonderful endeavor -- these gardens are truly an example of community at its finest.
Melissa Henderson November 17, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Communal gardens are a wonderful asset both to the gardeners (and their fortunate friends), but also to the community. Unslightly space is put to good -- and usually more attractive -- use. Citizens and neighbors connect to one another in a positive way. Many community gardeners also participate in the "plant a row for the hungry" initiative to provide fresh produce to food pantries, which rarely have good produce nor sufficient food in the growing season. It's a win-win-win-win. Let's hear it for the "dim bulbs" out there!
Cynthia December 12, 2011 at 08:10 PM
To Donny You could use a little bulb lighting yourself. You could stand a refresher course in spelling. It should be "you're" not "your"....
CommunityMinded December 12, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Not everyone can afford to have a home that meets their needs AND a large enough plot of land for gardening. I'm not entirely sure how that makes one "not bright". As Mary Ann mentioned, not everyone has conditions suitable for growing, either. Community gardens are wonderful, I am surprised that Libertyville does not have one yet. People can share growing tips, swap seeds and produce, and establish more of a friendly, neighborhood rapport with one another.
Donny December 12, 2011 at 11:56 PM
The typo police are always of small minds because they don't have a thought in their head to add to the discussion. Notice how I used "their" and not "there". :>)
Donny December 13, 2011 at 12:03 AM
I swap ideas, seeds, and perennials with my neighbors all the time. The soil is pretty homogenous, and even an average gardner can "fix" adverse soil conditions. I guess it would be like someone that loves to restores old cars and buys a house without a garage, makes no sense.
Cynthia December 13, 2011 at 01:02 AM
You are too funny. You sure think you know a lot about people and why they do and don't do things. I usually don't add negative or ugly thoughts to a conversation as you seem to be fond of doing. If I can't say something nice I usually don't say anything at all, but your rude comment screamed for me to show you that you may be the pot calling the kettle black. Frankly, if I was a cop I would be far more worried about your superior attitude than how you spell. If my only contribution to a conversation was to be rude and ugly like yours is, I would consider my head pretty empty. If it makes you feel better about yourself to call other people names then go for it. I don't mind. Your thoughts are totally irrelevant to any truth about me. Have a nice evening.
Donny December 13, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Thanks for proving my point Cynthia, you have a nice evening too.
Cynthia December 13, 2011 at 01:18 AM
I hope your garden becomes a reality! It is a lovely way to bring neighbors together. A good way to make friends and lasting friendships while improving the aesthetic beauty of the village. Good luck in your endeavors!
Cynthia December 13, 2011 at 01:52 AM
In your mind only!. LOL! Look, it's simple Donny. If I am the typo police then you are the garden police. If my only contribution to a conversation was to insult or tear down someone then I would not say anything except in a case of defense of myself or someone else. That does not give me an empty head. It gives me common decency and a discretion you obviously are sorely lacking. Thank you for the well wishes. I am enjoying my evening to the fullest as always and therefore must take my leave of you as you are really a drag and I don't like to be dragged into fights with unarmed opponents. Good night.
Donny December 13, 2011 at 02:02 AM
In general those who nothing have to say, contrive to spend the longest time in doing it. Words to live by Cynthia.
Ana Draa December 13, 2011 at 04:41 PM
What a wonderful idea! Not only is it a excellent use of resources, its a great community builder! Donny...as do many people in this village, I happen to know and have a tremendous amount of respect Mr. Hoover. He's an incredibly bright, long time resident of Libertyville. I have to assume by your comment that you do not know him. Your comment, "not the brightest bulb in the tree", is way off base. What Mr. Hoover is suggesting is very environmentally and community friendly. Between this comment and your nasty comments about the Brainerd folks, it's obvious that you simply take joy from knocking the good efforts of others. Your mama must not have taught you right...shame on you!
Donny December 13, 2011 at 07:42 PM
It just doesn't make any sense if you have a passion or a liking of an activity that you would choose a home that makes it difficult to pursue your life's passions. This is not the action of a rational human being. Mr. Hoover may be a cery nice person but in general there is zero logic. I'm a realist as far a Brainerd goes, as it is in place, your restoration project sounds great and is very admirable but as it is structured now, it will never happen. Meanwhile, my out of town family visits and comments when are they going to tear down that diapolated school building and I have to explain to them there are a few people that want to save it but they are going about in in a completely wrong way. And guess what, they all agree. Get that property out of the hands of government and into a private owner that will for profit return the architecture to what is once was.
Donny December 13, 2011 at 07:43 PM
My mama says how sad that building looks BTW.
Ana Draa December 13, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Donny, of course you don't understand someone like Mr. Hoover. He does happen to be very nice, but that's beside the point here, the reason he's so well respected is because he's very business savy AND community minded. He could certainly buy enough land 100 times over to provide for his own gardening needs. Rather than simple fend for himself, he sees an opportunity to meet a number of people's needs and add a wonderful community asset. He's the kind of man who is interested in (and has worked tirelessly for years!) improving our community, not just grabbing for himself. His recommendation is that of an extremely active and well respected citizen of Libertyville who sees a need and has been moved to action. We need more citizens like Mr. Hoover!
Donny December 14, 2011 at 01:54 AM
I do understand Mr Hoover, he has zero sense.
Brian L. December 14, 2011 at 03:27 AM
If you're not planning on using the garden, why rag on people who think it's a good idea? Libertyville has many rental units, especially right near the planned location, where tenants can't have a garden. All this would do is provide those types of people with a place to grow their own items. I think it's a great idea and would love to see it happen.
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 05:58 AM
It has become perfectly clear that this Donny character doesn't have a clue or a care for anyone but himself, and we all would be better off if we stopped "Feeding the Troll" We have allowed this troll to hijack this wonderful and thoughtful idea, and I am sorry for my part in it.
Donny December 14, 2011 at 09:10 AM
You're too funny! Apology accepted.
Donny December 14, 2011 at 09:16 AM
I think it's a great idea. The irony of someone choosing to live in a home that doesn't fit with their passions in life has a screw loose especially if they can afford about any home of their choosing. I understand the above poster that can't afford a big yard needs a place to garden if that is their hobby that is really who the community garden is for.
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 01:31 PM
I'm not apologizing to you Donny. I am apologizing to Mr Hoover.
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Does anyone know if the meeting took place as planned yesterday and how it went?
Ana Draa December 14, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Excellent idea Cynthia on the care and feeding of trolls. When you look back at the comments on this section, you, me, Cynthia, Dianne, Mary Ann, Melissa, Community Minded and Brian all favor the community garden....with one opposed. I believe Mr. Hoover has hit on an idea here that has resounded with the community! How do we best support this, contact Mayor Weppler?
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 03:02 PM
For Mr Hoover.... An act that positively influences the life of both the giver and the receiver is a kindness. It doesn't have to cost money or be difficult to perform. It can be spontaneous or premeditated. It can be as simple as a smile or a thank you, or as complicated as starting a non-profit organization to benefit those in need. Actively seeking out opportunities to assist others will naturally bring a certain amount of warmth and feeling of self-worth to each of us. It feels good to help others and others feel good knowing someone wants to help them." ~Chuck Wall..$$
Chi-an Chang December 14, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Hi Cynthia, The meeting took place and the Special Projects Committee is moving forward with the idea. I will have an update up soon. Earl said he was very happy with the outcome! Best, Chi-an
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I think that would be a great thing to do. I am no longer in Libertyville, but I would be happy to help in any way I can. I grew up in Libertyville and have always been proud to say I am from there. Lived there the first 25 years of my life. I would be able to make calls if that would help. I would just need to get the phone numbers. I am able to send emails as well. It would be a great way for me to give back some of the goodness I had living there.
Cynthia December 14, 2011 at 04:02 PM
That's great news Chi-an Chang! Thanks for letting us know.
Eclectic December 14, 2011 at 07:33 PM
Both of us Eclectic gals love to garden, in fact, my mom is actually a certified Master Gardener and AIFD accredited florist and is always willing to answer hort related questions. She's a wealth of knowledge on the subject, I have no idea how she remembers it all! If anyone is interested in growing heirlooms or really unusual produce (Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry comes to mind), we both buy from Underwood Gardens (http://store.underwoodgardens.com/) and have been really happy with the results. I would love to see this go through! It would be great to get some schools and kids involved in a plot, learning how to grow your own food is a great, useful tool for later in life!

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