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Urban Farming in Hillyard

In Uncategorized, Urban Affairs on March 16, 2009 at 11:11 am


The city of Spokane Water Department is proposing a new initiative that will allow neighborhoods to use otherwise idle city property to cultivate community gardens. Community gardens transform empty lots into green, living spaces through a collaborative process in which residents contribute to the garden’s maintenance and reap its rewards.

Last year the department proposed two unused city lots at Crestline Street and Hoffman Avenue on Spokane’s north side for a neighborhood gardening effort. The site incorporates the North Spokane pumphouse, a landmark city building with a lawn and several trees. Adjacent to a Spokane fire department station and at the junction of the northeast Spokane neighborhoods of Bemiss, Hillyard and Whitman, the two lots have been otherwise unoccupied for years.

With the pumphouse on site, water would be available to the garden for no additional costs. The department already provides irrigation to keep trees and grass alive, plus labor and equipment to tend the property. Partnering with neighborhood residents to cultivate the land would benefit area families while reducing the city’s maintenance costs. “It’s a very positive idea for the poorest urban neighborhoods in Eastern Washington,” says J.R. Sloan of the Greater Hillyard Business Association. “Neighbors literally reap the benefits.”

Dubbed the Pumphouse Community Garden, the project will join several community gardening efforts in Spokane, including the highly successful Northeast Community Center’s north side garden project. The Pumphouse Garden, a collaborative effort between the Hillyard, Whitman and Bemiss neighborhood councils, will be managed by a permanent planning committee proposed by local gardening expert Pat Munts. The committee will develop guidelines for tending plots and maintaining order and site cleanliness using standards from other similar projects as a guide.

Interested gardeners can participate by applying for a plot, attending committee meetings and contributing to the effort. Local people with gardening expertise will be especially valuable to the project, and donations of tools, weather-resistant building materials (like salvaged redwood or cedar deck timbers), usable compost, and volunteer rototiller work are welcome.

The Pumphouse Community Garden Committee will meet April 2 at 6 p.m. at the Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St. The group hopes to form a planning committee, identify resources and find finding, determine rules,  prepare and develop the site, and more. Contact Donna Fagan at 509.475.2180 or; or Pat Munts at  509.998.9769 or for more information.

Free Parking Downtown

In Here & Now, Uncategorized on February 16, 2009 at 8:33 am
couresty of the genius that is Greg Green

courtesy of the genius that is Greg Green

2/16 • Parking meters don’t have to be plugged today, thanks to the Presidents’ Day holiday. City of Spokane offices, however, are open as usual. So are Riverfront Park attractions, including the Ice Palace, Imax Theater, and Spokane Falls Skyride. Check for hours of operation. The Carousel is closed for annual maintenance through Feb. 27.