English Ranch Park Community Garden
Update March 27, 2015
We will be moving forward with the re-location of the Community Garden at English Ranch Park. The existing garden will be deconstructed within the next week or so and construction of the new garden will start within the same timeframe.
Finding A Compromise
As a quick reminder, Council asked staff to get a diverse group of resident together to find a “compromise” site in the park for the garden. Staff invited 10 stakeholders, including gardeners and those who oppose the current garden location to meet at the park and consider alternatives. The stakeholders identified the far northwest corner of the site as the preferred location.
Staff from Parks Planning, Parks Maintenance, The Gardens At Spring Creek and Storm Water Utilities met to review the site and deemed it feasible.
Website - Immediately thereafter staff developed a site plan and rendering of the new garden location and posted it on the website for review and comment.
Postcards - We sent postcards to hundreds of homes surrounding the park and invited them to comment at the website and to attend a community input session.
Community Input Session - The community input session was held on Monday, March 23 at the proposed new garden location. The turnout was beyond good with well over 60 stakeholders in attendance. This included neighbors and gardeners.
Door-To-Door Visits - This week City Staff also knocked on the doors of every home that had a clear and close view of the proposed garden site (18 homes).
Public Input Results - Many stakeholders provided comments either on line or via the door to door visits. The results can be categorized as follows:
- Compromise location acceptable: 59
- Remove the garden entirely: 20
- Keep the existing garden: 17
- Concerns or outright “no” to the new garden location: 3
The results strongly suggest that the new site for the proposed location is clearly a viable compromise.
Several stakeholders have expressed concerns about flooding at the re-located garden location. Staff has given this quite a bit of thought. Our solution is to look for more downstream capacity while simultaneously “building up” the new garden location. In summary, we would remove fill near the outfall which would create more storm water capacity away from the garden. We would also use fill material to build up the area for the garden. This would create a raised community garden. We believe that this is a creative solution (thanks Kurt Friesen) that will keep the garden area from flooding except during significant storm events (100 year storms).
We will send a copy of this update to all those stakeholders that provided us with an e-mail address. We will also update the website.
Thank you all again for your patience as we worked through this challenging issue.
Update March 11, 2015
Since the Council decision to delay the removal of the English Ranch Park Community garden, City staff have worked with groups of neighbors who are opposed to the community garden and/or its current location in English Ranch Park and groups of neighbors who are committed to maintaining a garden in the park, in lieu of a mediator, to identify an alternative location.
A site has been identified and staff would like to request that you visit the site and review the design materials below for more information. If there is support for the site, construction will begin at the end of March/early April.
All residents are invited to a neighborhood gathering at the site on March 23, 2015, 5:30-6:30 pm, where staff will be available to answer questions and provide more details. We invite you to draw your own conclusions about the proposed location and provide feedback but would like to share the benefits and concerns that have already been identified.
Benefits: connectivity to the school, ample parking, sunlight, more aesthetic location, does not impede active play space, natural landscape buffer between garden and homes to the north
Concerns: area is prone to flooding periodically
Cost:The City of Fort Collins will identify cost savings in the Community and Recreation Services Department budget throughout 2015 in order to pay for this relocation.
Neighborhood Gathering at Proposed Site:
Date: March 23, 2015
Location: The northwest corner of the park, adjacent to Caribou Drive, between the current turf fields and the un-mown drainage swale (see attachments below for more detail)
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Format: Drop-in dialogue, No formal presentation
Public comments are no longer being collected.
Please contact Michelle Provaznik, Gardens on Spring Creek, or 970-221-6881.
Update, February 5, 2015
Last night the Fort Collins City Council asked the City Manager to delay the removal of the English Ranch Community Garden.
City Council has received a tremendous amount of feedback regarding the garden both pro and con. With this in mind, the City will be seeking the services of a mediator with the hopes of developing a compromise between the groups. The garden will stay in place until the mediation process takes place.
More details regarding the mediation process will be offered within the next several weeks.
Please share this message with all of those people who you feel will be interested.
Thank you all for your patience as we deal with this complicated matter.
Jeff Mihelich, ICMA-CM
Deputy City Manager
Update, February 3, 2015
The City of Fort Collins thanks all of the English Ranch and Foxstone residents who have donated their time during the many hours of public input, meetings, surveys and discussions about alternatives for the Community Garden at English Ranch Park. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach a compromise between those that support the location of the garden and those that oppose it. As a result, we will be removing the garden.
It is requested that gardeners remove all of their personal property from the garden by February 15. This would include tools, garden art, plants, etc. If any gardener is unable to do so, we ask that you contact staff at the Gardens on Spring Creek to make other arrangements so that you are able to pick up your items. We do acknowledge that this decision is frustrating to some and we hope that we are able to work with you to find other locations that allow you to participate in the community garden program, supported by the City of Fort Collins.
Our goal is to identify a new location near, but outside of, the English Ranch subdivision for a replacement community garden. We are also planning on a new permanent community garden as part of the Southeast Community Park, which is currently being designed. In the meantime, all gardeners who currently rent a plot at English Ranch Park will be given priority for plots at the Gardens on Spring Creek and should call 970-416-2486 to let staff know they are interested.
Following the neighborhood decisions made on August 11 (see Neighborhood Meeting August 11 below for a summary of the meeting), the following will take place at the community garden in English Ranch Park:
Landscape: 10 Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) will be planted– 5 along the east side and 5 along the west side. They will be planted on corners to spill over onto north and south side.
10 Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortune 'Coloratus') will be planted– 5 on north and 5 on south. These are mostly evergreen but slower growing which is why we will plant the Virginia Creeper to spill over.
Fence: The fence will remain as it is with the above landscape incorporated.
Tool shed: The tool shed will remain as it is currently. Many did prefer an Art in Public Places project but we have chosen to postpone such a decision and leave the shed as it is due to the almost equal opposition to that alternative.
Timeline and Neighborhood Engagement Opportunity: The plantings mentioned above will go in on Saturday, September 27 at 3 pm. Any interested neighbors are encouraged to come and assist. Staff anticipates that the planting should only take 1-2 hours but would provide an opportunity for the neighborhood to participate.
English Ranch Park Community Garden is one of four gardens that were considered a pilot project for the City in 2013. The garden was installed in the spring of 2013. Since the time of installation, the City has received criticism for its lack of communication about the installation of the garden, aesthetics and location. In response to these complaints, a neighborhood meeting was held on June 9, 2014. At that meeting, the majority of attendees indicated that they would like to see the garden taken out of the park. Since that time, the City has received a balance of comment and opinion both in support and criticism of the project. Based on comments at the meeting and further evaluation, some mitigation steps were taken in July, 2014.
From July 23rd through August 3rd, 2014, the City conducted an online survey to gather additional neighborhood feedback about the garden's location and design preferences, listed below in the section 'Garden Options'. Postcards were mailed to residents south of Horsetooth Road, east of Timberline Road and West of Ziegler Road. The southern boundary is less defined, but begins north of Caribou as it comes off of Timberline and continues across an imaginary horizontal line to Ziegler Road.
The results of the survey are shown below:
Total number of survey invitations sent: 1120
Total number of completed responses: 236 (21%)
The survey results below are shown as a "weighted calculation". Items ranked first are given a higher value or "weight." With 5 questions, the highest ranked option is given a weight of 5, the next highest is a 4, and so on. The score is the sum of all the weighted values for that option.
|Option B: Maintain existing garden location; add plantings and potentially other mitigation.||808||1|
|Option A: Maintain the existing garden (as currently mitigated).||769||2|
|Option E: Please remove the garden from this park entirely.||666||3|
|Option C: Move the garden to the interior of the park, east side of existing shelter.||652||4|
|Option D: Move the garden to the center of the park, west of the existing playground and restroom.||645||5|
|Total Respondents 236|
Neighborhood Meeting August 11, 6-7:30 pm, Timberline Church Room 201-202
A majority of responding residents preferred that the community garden stay in English Ranch Park so the City of Fort Collins hosted a neighborhood meeting to discuss plantings and other potential mitigation efforts preferred by the neighbors in attendance. Please see the agenda, power point presentation and summary from the meeting below.
Due to the large amount of support and criticism that the Community Garden Project has received, the City of Fort Collins has decided to provide five options to the neighbors of the park and ask those residents to rank their preference. The options are listed, by letter, below. Pictures have been provided to assist in explanation of the current and optional locations. In addition, options C and D are currently staked in the park so that you can go and observe what the proposed locations would feel like if the garden were to be re-located, prior to submitting your survey.
Maintain the existing garden (in its now mitigated form), located at the east end of the park; near the pond, west of Kingsley Drive. Recent mitigation was $1,846.25 but no further costs would be associated with this choice.
Estimated cost: none
The same current location as option A with additional mitigation. Plantings could be added on the three visible sides of the garden (all sides other than the pond). The diagrams show many possible options for plantings and natural mitigation. They vary in cost, size and location best suited for the plant. As with all options, additional mitigation efforts and specific plantings/location can be considered at the neighborhood meeting and discussed in more detail.
Estimated cost: $2,500
This location is currently staked so that you can physically view it in the park. It is located in the interior of the park, east of the existing shade shelter.
Estimated cost: $17,000
This location is currently staked so that you can physically view it in the park. It is located centrally within the park, west of the existing playground and restroom.
Estimated cost: $13,000
Please remove the garden from this park entirely. Some materials could be re-used for a future garden in another location while other materials would not be appropriate for re-use.
Estimated cost: Unknown
Garden Layout Options (PDF)
Project Contact Information
Questions about the options presented: J.R. Schnelzer, Director of Parks, 970-221-6301,
Questions about the upcoming neighborhood meeting or the survey: Joshua Weinberg, SR City Planner, 970-224-6070,