“I appreciate your vision,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Eileen Hofstadt before making a motion to support the plan. “I think it’s very ambitious.”
During his presentation, coalition Co-founder Jim Root laid out exactly how ambitious the nonprofit organization’s vision is. Development of the 7-acre parcel at the corner of Sunset Road and Sellers Avenue is scheduled to be completed in 10 phases over the course of 10 years. When finished, the area will accommodate community garden plots, an amphitheater, event/play areas, social areas, parking, office and display buildings, plus an agricultural history area.
“Brentwood has a wonderful history of agriculture that a good portion of has been lost because we have grown,” Root said. “What I want to do is to work together with the (East Contra Costa) Historical Society, who will be our neighbors, and put together a walking tour and show the history of agriculture in Brentwood.”
The Green Living Coalition avoided being overly specific about the garden’s details. “We try to integrate as much as we can into the community,” Root said. “Our umbrella plan is to respond to the community’s needs.”
But responding to the community’s needs comes with a price tag. Root and the coalition estimate that the community gardens will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million. None of that money, however, is expected to come from taxpayers. Root said funding for the project will come from donations, grants, local businesses, contractors and Green Living Coalition members.
“The development budget for this project is pretty extensive,” Root said. “We understand that there is going to be a regular maintenance budget. It’s difficult to understand what that is going to be at this point until we get the number of stakeholders that are going to be involved. But it’s our understanding that the maintenance fees will be covered by not only gardener fees but annual grants.
“What we’re looking to do is take this unused piece of property and turn it into a sustainable community garden with as many members of the community involved as we can get,” Root said. “What we’re asking (the parks and recreation commission) to do is recommend to the City Council that they work with us on the facilitation of this project, actions that we need to take, phasing of the development, budget for the development and operation of the city’s agricultural park.”
“I think it looks great,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Blythe Lind. “Coming to us with a plan is a great place to start. I look forward to it.”
“Overall, I think it’s fantastic,” said Bruce Mulder, vice-chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Commission. “You’ve put a lot of thought into this. I think it would be a natural fit to have this in Brentwood.”
With the Parks and Recreation Commission’s support, The Green Living Coalition is scheduled to appear before the Brentwood City Council on July 24 at 7 p.m. in the hope of gaining final approval for funding for basic infrastructure, which is estimated to cost $25,000. Should that be obtained, a proper lease and agreement is expected to be signed in or around August.
The Green Living Coalition is a nonprofit group of community members, business leaders and green companies who promote awareness about renewable energy and sustainable living through education and community participation. For more information about the Green Living Coalition, visit www.greenlivingcoalition.com, www.facebook.com/greenlivingcoalition or call 925-705-8199.