Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, April 21

Editorial: Small part of downtown withers

Change is inevitable; however, some changes are regrettable.

The Prescott Community Garden, which opened in 2011-12 on a creekside plot in west Granite Creek Park, has closed. Organizers have chosen to pull up stakes and dissolve the organization, The Daily Courier reported this week.

Colleen Sorensen, who spearheaded the effort almost a decade ago as a part of her Northern Arizona University master’s degree, is disappointed, noting that a group of dedicated volunteers had put in hundreds of hours over the years.

For more than seven years, members of the community were able to rent garden plots for $60 per year. The location offered “perfect sun,” Sorensen said, which helped to produce bumper crops of tomatoes, squash, peas and beans.

Theirs was not without growing pains — such as damage from vandalism; difficult community marketing; lack of interest. Then came the announcement of plans for a new Hilton Garden Inn to be built on adjoining land near where Sheldon Street hits Montezuma Street.

This is not only about the loss of a way for residents to grow their own vegetables — a dying art, some say. It also gives into the demographic of Prescott, where retirees often live here but keep ties with where they came from.

It is a growing trend in which many clubs and organizations are staying active, even alive, despite a lack of significant new or younger generation involvement. Over the years, local service clubs, and military and community organizations have lamented the fact that retirees dominate memberships and are, frankly, aging.

Similarly, younger generations are not “joiners” as much as they used to be. They still volunteer but not at the pace of “memberships” prior or older generations exhibit, according to The American Prospect – a quarterly magazine.

Organizers said police sent regular bike patrols to the area, but still advised gardeners they should not be onsite after dusk.

And, though garden organizers say the city did not encourage them to leave the site, city officials are looking for another gardening effort for the location — possibly a “demonstration of a farm-to-table” growing.

Groups like that exist here — including the YMCA Community Garden, which has been active longer than its downtown cousin.

The question is, can it be sustainable in a growing downtown.

City officials are optimistic, while organizers with the Prescott Community Garden are disappointed.

— The Daily Courier

Editor’s Note — To contact the YMCA Community Garden, call 928-445-7221.

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