The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 5th

Town not likely to sell HOPE Gardens property

“The garden is doing really well,” said junior Mari Moss, a HOPE co-chair.

“We’re a little bit overgrown. We have so much squash, tons of tomatoes. It’s one of the most productive summers that we’ve ever had.”

The HOPE Gardens property is not likely to be sold in the near future following a community petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council.

Staff at HOPE Gardens petitioned the council at its Sept. 8 meeting to reconsider adding the garden’s Homestead Road property to a list of plots to potentially be sold.

“As of right now, the council has stated that it has no immediate plans for the sale of the property,” said Emily Auerbach, senior adviser at HOPE Gardens and a senior at UNC.

A group of local real estate professionals and Chapel Hill town staff reviewed town assets and disposable properties to determine whether they could be used for other purposes.

Six properties, including the HOPE Gardens site, were put on a list of plots in consideration to be sold.

Junior Jocelyn Pianowski, co-chair of HOPE Gardens, said the student-run community garden did not immediately feel threatened by the addition of their property to the asset list — until they were approached by developers.

“We have been approached by two separate entities that are interested in purchasing and developing the Homestead Road property,” Pianowski said at the council meeting.

Moss said council members responded positively to the petition.

“They told us that they had already seen a lot of grass-roots support for the movement,” said Moss. “They saw that we were a valuable asset to the community and that we were doing a lot of good.”

Town staff will present a response to the petition to the council at its Oct. 15 business meeting, said Jason Damweber, assistant to the town manager, in an email.

Jim Orr, director of the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, also expressed his support for the community garden, whether it stays at its current site or not.

“We partnered with them since day one,” said Orr. “We will continue to help the garden if the location is there. If it is sold, what we would do, we would assist them in trying to find another location.”

Auerbach said HOPE is not likely to have to find another location at this point.

She said council member Lee Storrow assured her the council would not seriously consider selling the HOPE Gardens property any time in the near future.

Despite the support shown by the town, the future of the HOPE Gardens plot will be determined by the council members.

“It’s all in the hands of the council,” said Auerbach. “They have complete responsibility.”


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