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Your plot, city's lot: Newport starts community garden

Green thumbs in Newport will have a new place to dig this spring.

The Newport City Council recently approved the creation of the city's first community garden, a place where residents can secure a spot to grow flowers and vegetables of their own on a piece of unused city land.

"It's a community-builder, for people to get together and share a common interest," City Administrator Brian Anderson said. "And, it's something that was easy enough for us to support and implement."

Garden plots will be doled out on a first-come, first-serve basis to residents after filling out an application and forking over a $20 fee that will cover water usage, a compost site and garbage removal.

The plots, measuring 4 feet by 16 feet, will be located in a lot next to Fire Hall No. 2 at 10th Street and Glen Road. The city purchased the property years ago, intending to use it as a site for a new city hall building. Those plans have stalled, so, Anderson said, city officials figured they'd put it to recreational use after a resident requested a community gardening spot.

Newport's community garden will also include a community plot, where vegetables will be grown for the local Friends in Need Food Shelf located in St. Paul Park.

In his day job as a community organizer with a Minneapolis neighborhood organization, Newport City Council member Steven Gallagher has first-hand experience with the community garden concept. There, he said, the community spaces have taken off, with long waiting lists for garden plots as residents without room to garden take advantage of the opportunity.

Gallagher said the same thing could happen in Newport, with the garden a way to engage residents of apartment complexes on the city's east side, a group that he said has not been as engaged in the community as others in the city. The community garden, he said, is just another way to bring Newport residents together.

"It's really a beautification of the neighborhood and of the area," Gallagher said.

Interested in community gardening?

For information about the community garden, contact the city of Newport at (651) 459-5677, or email More information on the garden will be sent out to interested residents, likely in mid-April.