In Elwood Park, Bradenton, located at 4008 39th St. E., a new community garden is set to open its doors to the public. The grand inauguration, featuring a ribbon-cutting event, is scheduled for January 13, from 10 a.m. to noon. This initiative aims to nurture community growth and development in Manatee County, FL.
For the past few weeks, teams from Manatee County have collaborated with local businesses and contractors to finalize the garden’s construction. The project’s inception can be traced back to discussions between John and Janyel Taylor of Taylor Nurseries in Elwood Park and Amanda Ballard, the District 2 Commissioner of Manatee County. The area’s rich agricultural history, dating back to the early 20th century and characterized by the offer of “ready-made farms on easy payments,” remains apparent.
The community expressed strong support for the garden in neighborhood meetings. Subsequently, the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners allocated $150,000 for the project once a suitable County-owned location was found.
The garden, which is fenced and secure, includes 29 standard 4×8-foot garden beds that are one foot tall, along with two larger, two-foot-high L-shaped beds of the same dimensions, and two ADA-accessible beds that are also two feet high and surrounded by concrete for easy access. There are also smaller 4×4-foot beds designated for children’s gardening and educational activities. The garden is equipped with an 8×10-foot storage shed containing various gardening tools and supplies, including rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, soil, and more. Additionally, it features two large compost bins and adequate water connections for irrigation.
Other amenities in the garden include a shade structure, park benches, ADA-compliant paths made of truegrid and pebble rock connecting all garden beds, and a small play area with swings for children. This setup ensures that while adults tend to the gardens, children can also engage in recreational activities.