John Scarffe, Nederland. The approval of a grant for a new greenhouse and a community garden fee waiver will help the Town of Nederland bloom again after the Nederland Board of Trustees regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center.
During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, the Board approved a $15,000 grant for a new greenhouse.
At its March 21, 2017, meeting the Board requested clarification regarding the match requirements of the Boulder County grant awarded to the Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) for a greenhouse project. SAB Chair Melody Baumhover attended the March 21 meeting to discuss the grant and possibilities for the new greenhouse.
The Community Agriculture Subcommittee of SAB received a Boulder County Sustainability Grant to build a community greenhouse garden in Nederland. The greenhouse will be a community garden housed indoors for year-round growing capability and is currently planned to be located at the water treatment facility yard abutting Guercio Ballpark.
Following the meeting, Baumhover wrote a message to Boulder County and said: “The BOT was worried that our waived match and new match agreement was not reflected in the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding]. They wanted clarification that they only need to provide the $500 in kind and then our in-kind community contributions. The MOU still says $3,750 somewhere.”
Lea Yancey, Boulder County Community sustainability specialist, returned the message and said: “It is correct that the Town of Nederland will not be required to provide cash for the 25 percent match. Nederland was provided an exception for this year’s 2017 Environmental Sustainability Matching Grant.”
Elizabeth Allen, on behalf of the Agriculture Subcommittee of SAB, submitted a proposal for a 100 percent fee waiver for water and sewer fees to assist with the continuation of the Community Garden, according to the agenda information memo. The Board granted a 100 percent fee waiver request at the Board meeting last year to facilitate the startup of the Community Garden.
This year’s request is for a lesser amount than was approved last year. Last year, funds were also requested to purchase some start up supplies, but those funds are not being requested again this year, according to the memo.
Allen told the Board that she is asking for two thirds less than last year. The gardens received $650 but are requesting $270 this year for the water and sewer fee waiver.
The garden was started in 1998 and closed in 2014 due to an unpaid water bill, according to Allen’s request. The property changed owners about that time, and the new owners were amendable to reopening the gardens as long as they would not be responsible for the water bills and those in charge would be accountable for the volunteers on the site.
The garden was organized under the auspices of SAB so it could be represented as part of the Town for accounting and liability purposes, according to the request. The gardens sponsored two horticulture laboratories, one through Chinook High School and a ladybug release by Wild Bear Ecology Center.
In 2016, 25 plots were available, and 18 of those were rented with nine actively tended. The goal for 2017 is 100 percent usage, according to the request. The growing season was from June 1 through October 15, and the nine plots used 4,310 gallons, or 3.5 gallons per plot per day.
Total water and sewer for the gardens equaled $69.22.
Allen said they planned to open the gardens up to more seasonal gardeners and plant cover crops like alfalfa. They had some momentum going last year and are hoping to be able to sustain the excitement through October.
They have some concern about the access road to the gardens, which would be jeopardized if the road goes away, Allen said. Should the greenhouse come to pass, the community gardens should be down by the waste water plant because of water accessibility.
Trustee Dallas Masters said these kinds of applications don’t need to come in front of the Board and should be part of the budget process each year. “How do we charge for the plot, and is there a contract with the owner of the land?”
Allen said they have on file what they purchased, such as a weed eater. They charge $25 per plot, and the money went into the same pot. They have a surplus now but need to purchase some things. “It’s the cheapest price around, with Boulder charging $65 to $80.”
Town Clerk LauraJane Baur said the garden volunteers are treated the same as other volunteers in terms of liability.
Trustee Stephanie Miller said that $25 is a heck of a deal. “Is there an opportunity here for those who would be willing to put a donation toward paying for water? I want to encourage everyone to use it. Some of those plot renters would be willing to donate. Can the town or staff take donations?
Allen said they have taken donations in the past, and she’s had people who didn’t want to rent but would give some money, and some said that if someone can’t pay the $25 they would cover it. Baur said she talked to the town attorney about taking donations, and that donations are allowed as long as the Town keeps good track of them.
Trustee Julie Gustafson asked what the gardeners are successful with. Allen said kale and leafy green vegetables are great to start here.
Radishes are really great and grow quickly. Forget tomatoes and melons, but potatoes are great.
Trustee Kevin Mueller said this is on private property. If the owner said, ‘Get out,’ do we owe them that money? If someone is injured, do they have the ability to sue?
Baur said the landowner is included in the liability waiver, and they have written a waiver, so they are covered. Allen said the landowners are so excited, and they are the ones who approached SAB to pay for a plot if someone else could not.
The Board approved the fee waiver.