Community gardens coming to Richmond

RICHMOND, VA. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond has approved an initiative to allow you, the community,to build a garden in certain approved locations. We are talking about city owned vacant land, that leaders want you to help spruce up.

The catch is, you will have to pay for the land use. Some people we talked with are worried they will not be able to cover those costs. We find out what the city is planning to do to help.

It is vacant land along West 44th Street. But land one community in South Richmond has turned into a garden and is already working to improve. It's helping to bring neighbors together. "We've been at it for several years," says James McDonald. "Neighborhood people come together, bringing their kids, dogs come down here and run around."

That's the same idea the city now wants to see happen in other parts of the Richmond.

Now, the city has streamlined the process where you must get approval to do this and it's going to cost some money. $50 for the first year and $25 every year after that.

James and his group can afford that cost. But, there's a problem. "We don't miss some of the official requirements like the insurance costs."

Council President Kathy Graziano says the city is working to find money to help people like James, so they can continue to clean up the neighborhoods. The money could come from funding into a non-profit part of the budget.

Meanwhile, 18 properties across the city have now been approved as community garden spots.

We found an example of what these gardens could look like. One has been along Thompson and Patterson for years, and it has brought the community together.

Council members say the goal of these garden is to do just that and clean up the neighborhood.

Vegetables will be grown in the gardens, along with other flowers.

But Douglas Shackelford don't want a garden in his neighborhood. "I think it will devalue the property. We are going to have to deal with trash and parking."

Meanwhile James thinks the city's plan is a good idea. He just hopes things will work out between his neighborhood and city council members, in the end.

A list of the approved locations from City Council:

  • 4212 Ferguson Lane
  • 404 E. Broad Rock Road
  • 3911 Stockton Street
  • 2000 W. Leigh St.
  • 207 E. Ladies Mile Road
  • 801, 805 and 807 W. 44th Street
  • 3300 McDonough Street
  • 712 W. 26th Street
  • 4050 Midlothian Turnpike
  • 2201 Parkwood Ave.
  • 1301 Perry Street
  • 2700 Fairfield Ave.
  • 1901 N. 28th Street
  • 3001 3rd Avenue
  • 9010 Goddin Street
  • 1423 1/3 Garber Street

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.