Friday, April 14, 2017

Davidson Community Garden impacted by road work

Thursday morning, Connie and Eddie Beach sent out the below as part of the weekly message to volunteers at the Davidson Community Garden on Potts Street this week.

"Some of you have asked about the stakes that got placed in the garden recently.  To improve safety and visibility for pedestrians and vehicles, the Town of Davidson is adding sidewalks and crosswalks on Potts and Catawba.  This is requiring some street widening, which will have an impact on the perimeter of the garden.  We met this Wednesday with Doug Wright, Public Works Director for the Town.  Doug reassured us of the Town's intent to minimize the impact on the garden and to help with moving the plants and fences.  The timing of the project is still uncertain, but Doug said he would be happy to send out more information to the volunteers in the next few weeks.  As with any renovation, it will present its challenges, but we feel it will be an asset when it is finished.  It will be safer for the flower-tenders as they work outside the beds, keep the soil from washing, and also make the community garden more of a good walking destination."

aShortChronicle checked with Wright to see if we could find out more.  Regular readers may remember that the town and NCDOT had to do a bit of Three Card Monte to get the funding fully approved for this work.  See "Untangling the Bonus Allocation Riddle" from October 2016.  As part of this, the Town temporarily transferred Potts Street to the NCDOT so it could qualify for Federal matching dollars requiring the project be on a State road.  Once done the road will be transferred back to the Town.

We asked Wright if there were any NCDOT requirements that were impacting the project since this is technically a state road at this point.

Here's what he had to say:

"Potts is now a state-maintained road, to help administer the Potts-Beaty-Sloan project.  When that is done it comes back to the town, as the state is always interested in handing local roads to local municipalities.  I have not even spoken to the state about the project impacting the Community Garden.   Kimley-Horn is designing the PBS Corridor for the NCDOT; Dewberry has designed the Potts-Catawba intersection for the town.  The need for improvements exists now, and the critical dimension is the 5-ft width required for sidewalk."

So, while this project is happenings now largely as part of the larger I77 HOT Lanes Bonus Allocation funded Potts-Sloan-Beaty Connector project, this particular intersection work is apparently being handled by the town.  While aShortChronicle does not disagree this intersection needs some work, we do have to wonder if the town could not do it with less impact to what has become a real gem of Davidson.

If there is any good news out of this, it is that based on the stakes that have been placed, it does not appear the loss of space will significantly impact the garden's production.  The DCG has become the main source of fresh produce for the food pantry st the Ada Jenkins Center, so at least people in need won't be impacted by this project.

Check out the below pictures to see exactly what will need to be moved.  Anything on the street side of the orange flagged stakes will need to go which includes most of the mature flower on the site.

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