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Community garden in Sackets Harbor first part of recreational development plan

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SACKETS HARBOR — Plans are moving forward for the creation of a community garden that would begin the development of recreational space on the village’s northwest side.

The gardens will be the first portion of a plan from the town of Hounsfield and village of Sackets Harbor Joint Parks and Recreation Commission, which will involve the development of tennis courts, bocce ball and shuffleboard spaces and a youth baseball diamond over the next few years near Edmund Street and Hill Street.

The village Board of Trustees and Hounsfield Town Council last week approved the commission spending $3,000 of its approximately $13,000 budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in June, to create the garden space. Work to complete other portions of the development will be spread out as funds allow over the next few years.

J. Briggs McAndrews, a village resident who has taken the lead in developing the garden, said it will provide both health and social benefits for residents.

“They might come and garden, but they may bring some coffee and chat,” he said. Mr. McAndrews, a gardener himself, said the plots would fit well with his growing of beans, tomatoes, onions, squash, peas and peppers.

“Each of these are just a little bit of a community where people can come together and do something that interests them,” he said.

Current plans are for about 20 plots, of either 10 feet by 20 feet or 8 feet by 16 feet, to be ready by May. Interested gardeners will be able to rent the plots through an application placed on the village’s website in March.

Mr. McAndrews said he has spoken with representatives from the Cornell Cooperative Extension to have gardening classes taught at the site, which could also be used by local students.

Though gardeners will need to use their own tools, soil and water will be provided with the rental fee. Mr. McAndrews said the raised plots at the garden will be more convenient for users with disabilities or limited mobility. He said he anticipated the plots being rented at $25 for the season.

While rules have not been formally set, Mr. McAndrews said the gardens would likely be organic, with users barred from using artificial pesticides on their spaces. Other rules he envisioned included preventing the planting of plants that could grow into the plots of other gardeners, like pumpkins. Though the community garden area will be fenced to keep out animals, Mr. McAndrews said a decision has not been made on whether individual plots could be fenced in as well.

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