For Patricia Ohmans, a proponent of
, a potential urban farmstead and demonstration site in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, the proposal is becoming more of a reality.
It's a mutlifaceted concept for a new kind of park that would go beyond a nature sanctuary, a place where people would “literally gain sustenance,” she explains. (See The Line's
earlier story here
For those who've gotten involved in the effort, she says, “We are solidly in favor of a place to play and commune with nature and a place for food and eating,” adding that it makes sense to do it on the largest green space left in the city.
Until recently, the idea seemed like a bit of a long shot, due in part to the cost of the 12.5-acre parcel that the garden advocates are interested in. The site is owned by the St. Paul-headquartered Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
, a nonprofit health and human services organization. Wilder put it up for sale through an auction, taking sealed bids on the site through late January, according to Ohmans.
Recently, the Trust for Public Land
, a national nonprofit organization with a St. Paul office, partnered with Frogtown Gardens to put a bid on the land. “I think the TPL wouldn’t have decided to do it if it hadn’t see how much public support it’s generated,” Ohmans says.
She hopes that the combination of a credible buyer and neighborhood and city support, including boosts from local institutions, will make it happen.
When the results could be in, though, remains an open question. Right now, “The ball is in Wilder’s court,” she says. Nevertheless, “It’s really a big step for us,” she says, adding, “It’s an idea whose time has come.”
On Jan. 26, the community activists hosted a cooking event at the Rondo Library
to promote the project.
In the hopes that the Frogtown Gardens will materialize, in the coming months, its advocates will be hosting meetings and design charrettes “to make sure the eventual design and creation of this park reflects as many people’s desires as it can,” Ohmans says.
Source: Patricia Ohmans, Frogtown Gardens and Urban Farm
Writer: Anna Pratt