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Grant awarded for community garden

A $7,500 grant has been awarded by the Statewide Health Improvement Program for a community garden on the south edge of Kiwanis Park, it was learned Wednesday. 

The garden, which has been given conceptual approval by the Brainerd Park Board and Brainerd City Council, will be located off East River Road south of Jenny Street near the Mississippi River. 

“That’s fantastic news,” said Tony Sailer, interim park director, on the grant. 

If the grant is accepted by the Crow Wing County Board work on the garden would start immediately, Sailer said. The grant would be used for infrastructure, such as fencing and lumber for the raised plots.

The community garden would feature 120  five-foot by 10-foot plots. The site was chosen for several reasons.

• A city tree nursery was once located there.

• It has rich soil.

• There’s a city water source is next to the site.

• There are no homes in the immediate area.

• The site is on a gated dead-end road and there is ample parking along the road. 

Sailer said if there are more applications received than plots in the garden a drawing will be held. If fewer names are received than plots available, double plots could be created. 

The Parks and Recreation Department is taking names for a waiting list for the garden. To have your name added to the list call 828-2320.

The idea of a community garden was initiated in 2009 by members of the Blandin Community Leadership Program. 

The initiative is currently being spearheaded by the Community Garden Committee made up of representatives of the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center, Brainerd Rotary and Sertoma clubs, Master Gardeners, FFA Alumni and the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department. 

The community garden is the second proposal for the Mississippi River south of Boom Lake. At the council’s March 21 meeting, the Brainerd Rotary Club announced its intention to seek a grant to purchase 37 acres along the river south of Kiwanis Park to be used as a passive park. If funding can be found and the land purchased, Rotary would donate the land to the city.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.