‘Community Garden’ gets tentative support


Measure R tax funds would pay for infrastructure

A community garden at Mammoth Creek Park, funded with Measure R recreation-based tax dollars, received warm support from the town’s Recreation Commission this past week.

What it did not get, however, was a full-fledged blessing in terms of actual dollars.

Rather, the Recreation Commission asked for more information from garden proponent Erin Hamilton after she presented a request for $8-$12,000 in Measure R funds at a Rec Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 14.

“It [a community garden] would provide another recreational outlet for locals and visitors,” said Hamilton, the ad sales director at the Mammoth Times. “In a town where we offer an array of outdoor experiences, we should not overlook the community garden.”

None of the commissioners balked at the idea of gardening as a recreational activity. Rather, the commissioners questioned Hamilton on a variety of potential issues, ranging from the actual placement of the garden at the town-owned park, irrigation issues and if there is enough time to put the project in motion this year.

“My biggest concern with the project is that it doesn’t really live in any of our town plans,” said Commissioner Betsy Truax. “I think there’s more groundwork to be done.  I think it’s a great project; it has merit, and I’d encourage you to come back in the fall.”

Commissioner Teri Stehlik, meanwhile, said she had concerns as to whether the project needed any kind of environmental review, along with other procedural matters.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said, “but I’m just not sure we have enough information to move this project forward.”

Commission Chair Bill Sauser, who said he himself is a gardener, suggested that better locations may exist, such as in the South Gateway area of town, where much of the land is owned by the Mammoth unified School District.

Hamilton found support from community gardener John Connolly, who oversees the Crowley Lake garden, which is entering its second year.

And she received the biggest support in absentia, from absent commissioner Sean Turner, who wrote into the record,

“At this time, unless other concerns come up, I’m supportive of this project.”

The next move is June 4, when the commission will recommend to the Town Council which projects should get Measure R monies, and how much.