A concept for a community garden to be built in a local park was approved Thursday evening at a meeting of the Webster City Park and Recreation Commission.
The idea for the community garden was brought to the commission by Cade Hilpipre. Recreation and Public Grounds director Kent Harfst said Hilpipre volunteered for the department over summer break. During a brainstorming time with Harfst, he mentioned the possibility of a community garden.
Hilpipre brought a sketch of what the community garden might look like, which includes plots that community members could rent out for the growing season for a small fee. He also included a packet of information about the "Grow Your Park Initiative" from the National Recreation and Park Association. The initiative includes suggestions for supporters and partners to find in the community to assist with the project and a suggested timeline for action steps to plan and create the garden.
When asked why Hilpipre decided to take up the project, especially for someone at his young age, he said he thought the community garden would offer those without planting land a chance to earn their green thumb.
"I've seen the all over other cities, and most people don't have access to a garden in their yard," Hilpipre said.
Hilpipre imagined the community garden being built at Riverside Park, and commission members also discussed using Kendall Young Park for the project. The commission also discussed putting up fencing to keep wildlife out of the garden, posting signage to explain the garden to those who pass by it and putting up deer cameras if theft or vandalism presents a problem.
The commission voted to approve the concept and continue looking at how feasible the community garden would be.
The commission also continued a discussion of new playground equipment. Harfst presented a catalog from the Miracle company which sells playground equipment. In discussions with a representative from Miracle, Harfst said the earlier concept of a spray water park was not very feasible.
"He told me our pool revenue would drop in half because people would go to the spray park instead of the pool. He also said the cost of the park could be about $200,000," Harfst said.
The commission looked at various playground sets that Miracle provides, and discussed having the playground aimed at older-aged children as other playground sets in Webster City are more fitting for younger children. While the commission is still considering building at East Twin Park and removing the tennis courts there, no final decision was made. Harfst said that the commission will look for concepts for a new playground and will look for volunteers to raise funds for the playground.