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Sunflower in Ron Ory Community Garden

Master Plan for Ron Ory Community Garden Plots Unveiled

At Thursday’s Naperville Park Board meeting, a new master plan was unveiled for the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, located at 811 S. West Street. 

The new design, put together by Upland Design Ltd., features a number of improvements to the site, which includes approximately 500 different plots for use by community gardeners. The proposed renovations will take place over three separate phases and cost nearly $1.2 million.

During phase one, a new asphalt paved parking lot will be created for visitors and gardeners. Organic raised garden beds for vegetables and flowers will be installed, with an accessible walkway. An additional water spigot will also be added

According to landscape architect from Upland Design Ltd. Michelle Kelly, the spigots will not just be a place to get water for crops. Most will have seating nearby. “These will become social spots in the garden,” said Kelly. “It will be a place for gardeners to come together, get some water, and talk to each other. This is especially for some of our gardeners that are getting older, getting a little bit of shade while working on a Saturday afternoon.”

Also during phase one, a number of no-till garden plots will be implemented into the southeast section of the site. That section is designed to be able to expand based on public interest. “There are people that are really excited by the idea of no-till,” said Kelly. “There is science behind it. It means something if you’re a gardener and interested in that. And this will give you the opportunity to ask for one of these plots.

The second phase will include the addition of an accessible path to the Idea Garden and seating in the area. Three 10-foot by 10-foot metal structures with shade and picnic tables will be installed within the plots.

During the third phase, there will be construction on a garden information kiosk, several restroom enclosures throughout the garden plots, material storage bins and concrete blocks.

During the Park Board meeting, Kelly assured community gardeners they will not be changing individual lot locations. “Lots of gardeners have their favorite spots, so for the vast majority, there is no change,” said Kelly.

The plan was largely shaped by community input. Gardeners were invited to public meetings on April 27 and May 18 where they could express their ideas about any future improvements to the Garden Plots. During the spring, the Naperville Park District also released online surveys for gardeners who could not attend the meetings.

Updates on the project will be posted on the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots site page. The new plan will go to the Park District Board of Commissioners for consideration at the Aug. 11 board meeting.

Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Will Payne.

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