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Eyesore That Blossomed Into Community Garden At Risk of Disappearing
DAYTON -- After years of effort to turn an eyesore into something the community could be proud of, a popular urban garden in downtown Dayton could be gone.
That's because a developer is interested in the land, and the garden station is part of the package.
"This is the start of the food forest, this is a peach tree," said Lisa Helm who leads an ABC 22/FOX 45 news crew around Garden Station on Wayne Avenue. It is a community garden made by the community. It is her pride and joy.
"It needed to come here eventually. I mean it's really gonna be the way of the future I think," said Helm. She and other volunteers have been leasing two acres for $10 a year from Dayton.
More than a hundred organizations and groups volunteer there, from University of Dayton students to members of AARP. They enjoy the bottle greenhouse, the unique artwork and the many gardens.
"The place makes people happy, that's why people have weddings here, right," Helm said.
Their two acres is part of a seven-acre plot being eyed for development. The city's working on several deals now.
"We limit ourselves if we say right now this area's excluded. We're not willing to do that. From day one, when we signed the lease in 2008 it was made very clear this is going to be actively marketed," said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton's Director of Planning and Community Development.
This place has grown a lot since 2008, and that is exactly what Lisa's going to show city leaders since they promised to come on a tour in the next few weeks. She knows that is her last chance to get the two acres here off the seven-acre plot. She says after that her final hope is with the developer.
"That's the best case scenario for everyone involved is that part of Garden Station is actively integrated," said Sorrell.
"It would really make a big dent in the community bonds. Basically this is the community's space, they build it," said Helm.
Dozens of people plan to ask the city to reconsider at the next city commission meeting, which is Wednesday morning, July 10.
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