Revitalization of Lincoln sprouts with community garden

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While much of the revitalization of the Lincoln District involves street improvements, an unused parcel of land will provide for a community garden as a pilot program that could expand to other parcels around the district, and potentially the city. Photo courtesy of City of Tacoma

The seeds of change in the Lincoln District revitalization effort will involve street trees and road improvements as well as literal seeds in the soil, courtesy of a community garden that is taking shape on an undevelopable parcel of land owned by Tacoma Public Utilities.

A planting party is in the works for April 22 at the Lincoln Community Garden, located at 867 S. 34th St., to allow volunteers to plant pear and apple trees and put in landscaping for the location as well as sign up for planting beds of their own.

The garden’s design and startup was funded by $6,000 in grants and will be maintained through donations and seasonal rentals of one of the 12 individual beds for $25 each to cover the water bills for each 4-foot by 8-foot soil bed and other associated costs. 

“We don’t want anyone to be turned away because someone doesn’t have the funds for a bed,” garden organizer Ricky Clousing said.

Donations have already covered the costs of the beds if people interested in having a bed of their own can’t cover the plot fee. Future fundraisers hope to make that policy permanent. 

“The planning process was very organic as to how it was planned out,” Clousing said. “There is just a lot of diversity in the neighborhood and we wanted the garden to reflect that. We realized that we didn’t want a traditional community garden with just a bunch of beds.”

The Lincoln garden will, for example, have plants that are open to the community at large, so gardeners can swing by to tend to those plants or neighbors could spend an afternoon picking from the fruit trees or blueberry and strawberry bushes without the need of a green thumb of their own.

“We wanted the garden to serve the spectrum of interest,” Clousing said, noting that some neighbors already have gardens in their backyards while others have no green spaces of their own but have interest in working the soil while others just want access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lincoln community garden site plan. Diagram Courtesy of City of Tacoma

The site itself was designed so that TPU’s water main under the graden could be repaired or replaced in future years without much disruption to the garden itself. If this pilot project proves successful, the garden could expand to two nearby parcels and even similar utility-owned sites around the city. Tacoma is already home to more than 35 community gardens, including 11 on city-owned property. Gardens are managed by Metro Parks, churches, community groups, schools and universities, and many other organizations. The pilot project in Lincoln could expand that number.

Change is also in the works elsewhere in the district, with traffic circles becoming flower beds and landscaped patches as well as streets gaining flowers and signs to further create the sense of community pride and fuctionality.

The second phase of the traffic revisions of South 38th Street, for example, will run through the fall and end with better traffic flows, utility improvements, curb and gutter additions, sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, pedestrian amenities and artwork to promote an economically thriving business district as well as reflect the diversity of the neighborhood.

Community members interested in getting involved are asked to e-mail lincolndistrictgarden@gmail.com.

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