As change creates the occasion for more change, so the construction of the new community center on Culver Boulevard has given rise to the need for a new community garden space. It looks as if the community may end up with more than one.
At two presentations, one live and one online, on consecutive evenings of Feb. 20 and 21, 2023, the Parks, Recreation and Community Services staff offered a power point to residents about what the standards were for a new garden, and how they were looking to meet them.
The previous community gardens on Culver Boulevard held 17 plots in a space of 4500 square feet. The city aspires to replace the same amount of gardening space, but does not have that availability at one location. After looking at all the city parks – land already held by the PRCS – two locations, one at Vets Park and one at Syd Kronenthal Park best met the criteria.
The staff and PRCS Commissioners were given a full day of exploring community gardens nearby in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, which opened up some new ideas on what territory might work.
PRCS commissioner Jane Leonard gave effusive praise to staff member Francesca Castillo for their connection. “It is a testament to Francesca …. that we were able to be included in this tour. We had [expert advice from ] soil specialists working for the state of California – it was very comprehensive and very collaborative.”
The focus on urban farming and urban gardening gave staff and commissioners new ideas about how to use the gardens to grow community. “We want to get people gardening again, and the opportunities for growth are there,” noted Leonard.
The possible site at Vets Park would be the lawn near the Film Fountain. “No trees would be removed, and there is room for ten raised beds. This would open the option of having additional plots at a second location,” said Castillo. “Syd Kronenthal Park has a location next to the basketball court that could hold 10 plots. Raised beds are easy to construct and could be put together very quickly.”
Tellefson Park also has space for a community garden, but would need to be classified as a capital improvement project. Tellefson lacks the required parking, therefore lacks the ADA access needed, and would be require more work from the city to meet the criteria as a garden.
All the other parks in the city that were screened had one or more criteria lacking, and some are simply so heavily booked for use as parks it would not make sense to decrease the amount of space for recreation.
The garden will likely be modeled as a rent-to-use space, with each gardener required to be a Culver City resident living in multi-unit housing that has no available space to garden.
The PRCS will have the item on the agenda for the March 9, 2023 meeting, and the staff and the sub committee will present to the City Council, possibly in May.
Photo – Syd Kronenthal Park