Simply Living Action Alert: Save Award-Winning Community Garden

Learn more about the Kossuth Street Garden and the effort to save it.

One of our brightest community jewels is under attack. Kossuth Street Garden, winner of the Franklin Park Conservatory Growing to Green Award, sits on property recently purchased by a developer who wants to plow it under to build 10 houses.

To develop the houses, zoning for the property will have to be changed from commercial to residential. The Garden is willing to purchase the small parcel of land where it sits, but the developer says the entire property is needed for housing.

We are asking the Columbus Zoning Commission to arrange a compromise to allow the garden to remain on the property and continue as an asset to both the housing development and the surrounding Southern Orchards neighborhood.

Please copy and paste the letter below, and personalize it with why you think the garden should be saved. Then sign your letter and email it to Hayley Feightner at hefeightner@columbus.gov before their meeting on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Dear Columbus Development Commission:

I am writing to express my concern over the impending development of the Kossuth Street Community Garden. A developer has purchased the property where the garden is located (641 E. Kossuth St.) and plans to build 10 homes there beginning in Spring 2021. Despite KSG’s offer to purchase the land on which the garden sits – the northeast corner of the parcel – the developer has not been willing to sell that section. The parcel is currently zoned “Commercial” and will need to be rezoned “Residential.”

The City’s zoning plan already recognizes that community gardens “are a vital part of any neighborhood with both economic and social benefits.” The Kossuth Street Garden is truly a model that exemplifies all these benefits to the Southern Orchards neighborhood. Since 2007, KSG has provided educational experiences for urban youth and adults, developed community partnerships, received numerous grants to host food and cooking events, sponsored a Little Free Library — all as part of their mission to provide freshly grown produce in a food desert while educating neighbors in nutrition, fitness, social justice, gardening, even science and math — through the workings of a community garden.

Their success over the past 13 years is why KSG was awarded the Franklin Park Conservatory 2020 “Growing to Green – Neighborhood Impact Award.” It’s why East Kossuth Street was featured in Travel Trivia’s article, “9 of the Most Charming Streets in America.”

This jewel of the South Side has become an institution, and it cannot simply be moved to another location. Clearly this situation requires the utmost care and flexibility of the Zoning Commission to preserve this special community garden. Our request of the Commission is simple: the Commission should not grant a variance on the zoning until arrangements are made to save the garden in its current location.

You each have the opportunity to ensure that our award-winning Kossuth Street Community Garden be allowed to continue its work to thrive and enrich the Southern Orchards neighborhood and the entire South Side of Columbus for years to come. Thank you for your consideration.

____________________________

Michael Doody, founder of the garden in 2007. See this article about Michael in the Columbus Dispatch as an Everyday Hero.
Children as well as youth and adults are involved in the garden.
The Garden in summer is followed by annual Harvest Day in the fall.