A former Michener Centre playground site will be turned into City of Red Deer public garden plots next spring.
About 65 public garden plots will be created in a grassy clearing just north of Michener Centre Extendicare and the Villa Maria seniors apartments on Carrington Drive, and south of the forest preserve that extends to 55th Street.
Ken Lehman, the city’s parks, planning, and ecological specialist, said this land used to be part of Michener Centre, but is now owned by the city. It had old Michener playground equipment removed in recent years, and is growing a garden of peas this summer.
This is to both suppressing weed growth and amending soil quality by adding back some nitrogen.
By next April, much of the clearing will be turned into public garden plots for city residents who want to grow their own vegetables.
These new plots will replace about the same number that are now on Red Deer College land.
Lehman said the college has future development plans, so requested the plots be relocated next year.
The City of Red Deer will continue to offer public garden plots at 5320 67th St. in Normandeau and at Piper Creek Gardens at 1709 40th Ave. in 2015.
The new garden plots west of the Clearview neighbourhood will likely be called Michener Gardens, said Lehman. He noted a small parking lot for a dozen vehicles and some picnic tables will be added to the site, which is sometimes frequented by deer.
Gardeners “might be feeding some bucks and does,” he admitted, but then there are wildlife sighting throughout the city.
Another advantage of increasing public traffic to the secluded area is to reduce unwanted activities, such as bush parties.
“We want appropriate uses in a park, so this will put eyes in the right place and push out inappropriate uses,” Lehman added.