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Covington residents angered by city's plans to develop area including community garden

Orchard Park farm project.jpg
Posted at 10:51 PM, Jul 27, 2021

COVINGTON, Ky. — A community garden organized on an unused piece on land owned by the city of Covington will be developed over as the city commissioners voted to move forward with plans Tuesday evening.

The city bought several lots of land on its west side in 2004, but hasn’t done much with them since then. In the interim time period, neighbors came together to make it their own – planting a community garden.

Covington resident Janet Tobler said she knows how far the plot of land, Orchard Park, has come.

“This is all community built. The fence. The chickens here. All the fruit trees,” she said, listing off the improvements made to the property

The city of Covington has owned the area that makes up the park, and 10 other parcels of land, for 17 years.

“It sat there. Nothing was happening,” Tobler said. “This neighborhood was a depressed neighborhood. Nothing was going on with the entire city block.”

Residents said when the city did nothing with the property, they created a half-acre garden.

“It’s something the whole neighborhood came together on,” resident Bill Wells said. “Once you take that, what’s the neighborhood going to have in common?”

Some neighbors hoped for a compromise – spare the community garden while the rest of the development moves ahead. But city leaders said after all this time, they’re moving forward with plans for the land – including the garden.

Development plans call for a green space, but it’s only about 70% of the size of the garden. Homes built in the area will sell for close to $300,000. City leaders said Orleans Development and the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington had the most reasonable costs for homes.

“Very disappointed that Covington lost an active, vital green space that the community was a part of,” resident Ben Goetzman said. “It’s a shame the commissioners voted the way they did.”

Commissioners said they plan on coming up with another plot of land nearby to create another garden.