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May make garden space available for Tama residents

February 22, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Tama Council members again discussed the possibility of offering city-owned land for use by residents for truck gardens. Member Mike Carnahan, who first brought up the idea at the Feb. 3 council meeting, asked for the issue to be tabled before action so additional information can be studied.

Council member Steve Baier, Doug Ray and Carnahan agreed more is needed on rules of operation before the council agrees to such a plan.

Among concerns are responsibility for watering the plots and theft of produce.

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he western portion of the Indian Hills Addition in Tama. The green area is a possible spot for community truck gardens if the Tama City Council approves making space available.

The property under consideration consists of parcels of city-owned land which form the western and northwestern borders of the Indian Hills Addition.

Access would be from the South Tama Recreation Trail spur on the south side of the South Tama Elementary School.

It is land which is not suitable for new housing, officials said.

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If the program proves successful and more space is needed, additional vacant adjoining land to the east might be incorporated in future years.

The property being considered does not have city services extended to it and likely is not suitable for building.

Carnahan said the local Ministerial Association has endorsed the idea with an eye toward supplementing fresh produce supplies at the South Tama Food Pantry. He also said a high school student group has expressed some possible interest in the venture.

Mayor Zimmerman said Cedar Rapids has had at least a pair of community spaces made available for gardening in the past. Tama police Officer Barnett Curry said his hometown of Algona also offered a community garden area.

Trail Expansion

Mayor Zimmerman reported the South Tama Recreation Trail Committee is looking at another extension of the now 6.2-mile trail system this year. He said an extension of the trail along the Iowa River flood dike from the sewer treatment plant east and then north to Coal Chute Road is proposed. The trail would then loop along city property back to the dike.

The trail currently ends on the west side of U.S. Highway 63 on the flood dike. It extends from there northwest to encircle Cherry Lake, then proceeds north and northwest to Ross Street in Toledo.

In other business the council approved purchase of a water leak detector at a cost of $3,400. The device will allow city employees to locate leaks and reduce or eliminate the need for a commercial firm to be hired. A recent leak detection service cost $1,500, it was reported.



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