Leaders of Ithaca Community Gardens fear losing land
Category: The Big Picture

Leaders of Ithaca Community Gardens fear losing land

A message from the Ithaca Community Gardens Board of Directors: “The Ithaca Community Gardens, run by the not-for-profit Project Growing Hope, has been an Ithaca institution for 41 years, and has been located near the Farmer’s Market for over 30 years. Cayuga Medical Center purchased the land surrounding the Gardens earlier this year with plans to develop it, and the Gardens’ board is concerned that both Cayuga Medical Center and the City want to move the Gardens to Cass Park. The board’s position is that the Gardens best serve Ithaca at the current location, and that any move away from the neighborhoods it serves would make access to the Gardens very difficult, would be extremely disruptive to an established gardening community, and would threaten its very existence. At this time the Gardens’ board is asking everyone to contact their City Council representatives, preferably in writing, to speak out in support of the Ithaca Community Gardens remaining where they are, and also to be prepared to come to city meetings if need be to express this support in person. Please contact the board at 607-216-8770 (leave a message) if you would like more detail on this situation, and to receive talking points to include in letters.”

On June 14, 2017, a press release from Cayuga Medical Center stated that the organization purchased 8.5 acres of land from The Maguire Family of Dealerships for $10 million, with an option for an additional 2.12 acres for a nominal price. The intention is to create a comprehensive mixed use plan and enhance health care services. Mayor Svante Myrick said, “The City of Ithaca’s comprehensive plan calls for compact, mixed-use development throughout the city that expands housing and retail options for the public, and we look forward to working with Cayuga Medical Center to achieve these goals at Carpenter Business Park. Urban agriculture is another identified goal in the comprehensive plan, and we intend to work with Project Growing Hope and Cayuga Medical Center to identify a collective solution that will allow the Ithaca Community Gardens to expand and thrive.”

On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, John Turner, Vice President, Public Relations at CMC, offered Hot Potato Press readers this update: “We are just beginning this process and have a long way to go to explore all options. Cayuga Medical Center and developer Park Grove have met with the City of Ithaca, Project Growing Hope, and neighbors near Carpenter Park, as we develop a vision for what the site will look like in the future. The meetings are essential to develop a mixed-use plan that consists of residential, retail, commercial, and health care. The final plan will align with  City of Ithaca’s comprehensive plan. In addition, we are committed to coming up with a permanent plan for Project Growing Hope that will sustain the community gardens.”


Image credit: Photo of tomatoes growing at Ithaca Community Gardens, courtesy of Ms. Olivia

Editor’s note: Cayuga Medical Center is a sponsor of Hot Potato Press

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