LOVEJOY — Residents are closer to enjoying the fruits of a 2.5-acre community garden set to open later this summer in Lovejoy.
The tilling was done earlier this spring by Mayor Bobby Cartwright. He said at the time he was looking for grants and donations to sustain the garden, which would include plots for flowers and vegetables.
That funding is starting to come in.
The city is devoting some $80,000 in its fiscal year 2013 budget to the garden.
The city was also awarded a $1,000 community grant from Walmart this month to be used to help develop the garden.
Officials also received word that Frances Aukerman, the widow of former Councilman Arlie Clay Aukerman, pledged to donate to the garden as well. Her husband, 91, was a veteran of the Army Air Corps and a great-great-grandfather at the time of his death.
The garden has also gotten support from the county commissioners, said Cartwright. He expects the county will award the city a grant soon for its community projects.
Cartwright plans to incorporate an open air market at the garden, which will be able to expand in the 14-acre city-owned lot off Steele Road.
“I don’t want a small, unhappy garden,” he said. “I want a big, happy garden.”
Officials plan to kick off the garden’s open air market with a Harvest Day later this summer.
Cartwright said the garden will eventually have a storefront on site for daily sales of farmers market-like products such as fresh vegetables, flowers, eggs and honey.