Decommissioned city pool to become community garden
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 15, 2012
12/15/12 at 5:04 AM
Friday wasn't exactly the perfect day for gardening, but city officials gathered at Challenger 7 Park, anyway, to announce the creation of a community garden in the park's empty swimming pool.
"I call this initiative Growing from Roots," said first lady Victoria Bartlett, who worked with the city's Park and Recreation Department to get the project going. "The city of Tulsa is growing from roots to become a healthier community."
To prepare the pool to become a garden, the Park Department lined its bottom with 2 feet of soil. The OSU Extension Center will provide the rest of the soil.
The garden will be framed with 1,500 square feet of sandstone. The pool's pump house was removed, and the bathhouse was refurbished.
"Whoever works in the garden can take all of the produce they want," Bartlett said. "We will also be using it in the cafeterias in the (local) schools."
The park is at 3909 W. 41st. St. Neighborhood churches and schools have agreed to participate in the community garden, Bartlett said, using the experience as a chance to teach young people about healthy living and the value of mentoring.
"Webster High School is having some of its senior students who are in agriculture classes mentor younger children," she said.
Bartlett said that when she brought up the idea of creating a sustainable produce garden in one of the city's parks, it was Park and Recreation Department Director Lucy Dolman's idea to put it in the long-vacant Challenger 7 Park pool.
"She's a master gardener, you know," Bartlett said.
Kenda Woodburn, a horticulturist with the OSU Extension Center, said her role in the community garden would be to help determine where to plant what and to educate the public.
"The main goal is to get the community involved so that we are not doing it for them but teaching them how to do it," Woodburn said.
The Extension Center also will provide tips on how to prepare and handle fresh food.
The community garden is expected to be up and running by March.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett commended the Park Department for its work in turning an unused city asset into something positive for Tulsans.
"Maybe there is a better way to do something, and here is a good example," he said.
To participate in the Challenger 7 Park Community Garden, call the OSU Extension Center at 918-746-3717 or email email@example.com. To participate through the mayor's mentoring program, call 918-596-7411.
Original Print Headline: Former pool to be community garden
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Work has begun on the old junior-size pool that will be repurposed into a community garden at the Challenger 7 Park in west Tulsa. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
District 2 City Councilor Jeannie Cue listens Friday as Mayor Dewey Bartlett speaks during a news conference announcing the repurposing of the pool at the Challenger 7 Park. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Work has begun on the old junior-size pool that will be repurposed into a community garden at the Challenger 7 Park in west Tulsa. Photos by MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World