Oak Creek will create a community garden near St. John’s Church

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Spring will literally sprout in Oak Creek as the town gets a community garden.

The free-growing space, called Rooted Community Garden, could very soon become part of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 6700 S. Howell Ave.

“We want to innovate when the freeze is over,” said Eric Fleishman, chair of the St. John’s Outreach Council. “As soon as possible.”

Comprising 24 raised beds, eight of which are wheelchair accessible, the boxes will be primarily accessible to the public, but approximately 30-40% of them will be reserved for members of the congregation.

The garden will also include four picnic tables, a mobile wood-burning fireplace, a table used as a trading post, a storage structure and a covered composter. Rain barrels will likely be installed to provide water for gardeners.

Fleishman said the church wanted to serve the community and develop friendships in addition to providing space to grow produce. He said the garden is a midpoint, or “neutral ground”, instead of people walking straight into the church.

Fleishman said some of the produce could be offered at the Drexel Town Square Farmer’s Market with “suggested donations” for items. All of these donations would go to the social service organization South Milwaukee Human Concerns.

Commissioner Dawn Carrillo, who is also the manager of the Oak Creek Farmers Market, was excited about the prospect and told Fleishman to call her to discuss stall options.

Many members of the Oak Creek Plan Commission called the garden a “good idea” during a March 8 meeting. The commission unanimously approved the site, building and related plans for the project. Final detailed plans must be submitted to the Oak Creek Community Development Department prior to installation.

“It’s fun and exciting,” Oak Creek Mayor Dan Bukiewicz said. He called the project “quite innovative” and said many people in the community had asked for something like it.

Interested parties can register to rent a raised bed through a link on the church’s website, www.stjohnsoakcreek.org. Initially only one box will be rented per person but if there are beds left, they can be offered to registrants if they want more space. The south side of the garden could accommodate more boxes if there is a lot of interest in the project.

“We really hope it takes off,” Fleishman said. “We want these to be complete.”

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Continued:Oak Creek wants residents to create original artwork for a community mosaic. Here’s how to participate.

Contact Erik S. Hanley at (262) 875-9467 or [email protected] Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter at @ES_Hanley.

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