Community garden brings Smithville and Cornelius together
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – For Lisa Mayhew-Jones, building the Smithville Garden is more than a community project, it’s a chance to relive childhood memories and honor her family.
“We would play outside all day and never had to go inside because we had the garden. It was just awesome,” Mayhew-Jones reminisces.
Mayhew-Jones, co-chair of the Smithville Coalition, along with co-chairs Sammie Knox and Ron Potts and coalition members, is spearheading the project to bring a community garden to the site where her grandparents’ house once sat.
After Mayhew-Jones’ grandmother, Josephine Caldwell, passed away a couple years ago, the family decided to sell the property.
The buyer of the property was the Town of Cornelius, who eventually gave the land to the Smithville Coalition to build a community garden.
The coalition had plans to build a community garden for quite some time, but when the Cornelius PARC department went to check out the originally proposed property, it was deemed unfit because of how the sun would hit the site.
That’s when Mayhew-Jones and the coalition approached the town to find a place that would make a good site for the community garden.
With the help of Town Manager Anthony Roberts, and the PARC department the site will host a community garden by spring 2013.
Located on West Catawba Avenue, near Interstate 77, the garden will be built as a place for Smithville Community and Cornelius residents to get together.
“We’ll have picnic tables for people when they are gardening because one of the purposes of this project is to bring people together,” said Bruce Wray, the “Garden Czar,” as Mayhew-Jones, and other members of the Smithville Coalition affectionately call him.
Wray attended a class at Central Piedmont Community College that was focused on creating and maintaining community gardens.
The garden will hold 24 8-foot-by-10-foot plots available to Cornelius residents for $10 a year plus the costs of water (yet to be determined). The garden already has 12-15 people interested in buying a plot.
The aim is to keep the garden organic by restricting pesticides and certain fertilizers.
The town has already provided access to the water line, but the coalition is looking for partners to help contribute funds to help pay for water.
One of the goals of the Smithville Coalition and the garden is to preserve the Smithville Community before development along West Catawba Avenue pushes them out.
“It’s just a community trying to come together. Smithville is really the center of Cornelius and with everything going on, we don’t want anything to come along and just wipe us out,” Mayhew-Jones said. “Nothing better could have come out of (the property), and my grandparents would be proud, because they always had a garden here. And they’d be proud to know that we are using the property to make Smithville a community garden.”
For information about the garden and the coalition, contact Lisa Mayhew-Jones at email@example.com.