Whitewater Community Garden may grow

By Dave Fidlin


The acreage of the Whitewater Community Garden could increase when warm weather returns this year, according to a plan floated by organizers. But a stamp of approval from a governing body will be necessary for plans to proceed.

The gardens were briefly discussed at the city’s Community Development Authority (CDA) meeting Jan. 22. A representative was not present, so officials chose to table the matter and take action at a later date.

Garden organizers approached the CDA about using a lot directly to the north of their existing green area, 1201 Innovation Drive.

“The property in question is for sale by the CDA,” Executive Director Patrick Cannon said. “I would consider it to be a prime parcel since it sits on an intersection.”

At the moment, Cannon said there are no firm offers for the property, but he followed up his comment, stating, “That could change at any time.”

In his dialogue with garden organizers, Cannon said part of the interest in expanding correlates to accessibility for persons with disabilities.

“I expressed a concern that over several years, the individuals who use this area for their personal gardens will have both personal expenses and their time in developing a quality soil for their garden,” Cannon said. “This needs to be addressed in any agreement if the board desires to allow the use of the parcel.”

The existing community garden is part of the city’s Moraine View Park, which abuts the Whitewater Innovation Center, where the CDA has a physical presence. Moraine View also features soccer fields and the city’s so-called canine-friendly Bark Park.


Other CDA business:

• Voted to establish a for-profit capital catalyst fund that will act independent of the CDA itself. The legal entity will hold some of the CDA’s investments in an effort to help foster further development within the community.

“There are rules we have to live by when we talk about this money,” said Jeff Knight, who chairs the CDA. “The rules are set by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.”

• Voted to renew its relationship with Wausau-based Redevelopment Resources for a two-year period. The company specializes in offering services aimed at development and redevelopment within communities.

Redevelopment Resources has been providing the CDA with an executive director, meaning Cannon works for the company and not the CDA itself.

Prior to voting to renew its relationship with Redevelopment Resources and Cannon, the CDA briefly went into closed session to hash over the finer points within the agreement.

• Voted to award a $7,950 contract to Whitewater-based Strand Builders to repair a home just outside the city’s incorporated boundaries at N9601 Howard Road. The CDA owns the home and rents it out.

In a report to CDA officials, Cannon said the currently unoccupied home has incurred several issues during this harsh winter, including burst pipes. A walk-through in early January revealed two feet of water in areas of the home. The water had not been shut off prior to the home being vacated.

The most recent tenant moved out last fall, and plans call for renting out the home again once the necessary repairs have been made.

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