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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.

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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