Austell will create community garden
by Noreen Cochran
November 06, 2012 12:55 AM | 2318 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTELL — The city of Austell will spend $18,000 to create a community garden to honor two longtime residents.

The City Council approved the funds to buy equipment, plants and maintenance for the garden at Windy Lane and Owens Drive in a 6-0 vote Monday.

“There will be no impact to the city budget,” said Councilwoman Kirsten Anderson, chair of the council’s public works committee. “These funds were received through multiple grants and donations and are nonmatching.”

One of the grants was $5,000 from the Cobb County Soil and Water Conservation District. Another was part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grant program, which provided about $900,000 for 22 homes damaged in the September 2009 floods.

“As part of the hazard mitigation grant program, the property located at 2836 Windy Lane was purchased, the structure demolished and the property returned to deed-restricted greenspace,” Anderson said.

The property once belonged to long-time Austell residents Irvin Thomas “I.T.” and Lodemia Terrell, who died in November at age 87 and in March at age 85, respectively.

Anderson said the committee and the community mourned “both these wonderful individuals.”

“(They) were residents of the city of Austell for approximately 59 years. Both individuals contributed to organizations within the city from serving on the Planning and Zoning Board, volunteering at Sweetwater Valley Camp or as members of the Lions Club,” she said.

The Terrells’ survivors gave $5,000, which the Council accepted 6-0 as it did a motion to name the site after the Terrells.

According to the city’s website, the I.T. and Lodemia Terrell Community Garden and Educational Center will include walking trails and an outdoor classroom.

After the meeting, Anderson said existing benches will remain, but no buildings will be constructed.

“We can’t put any structure on there because it is flood land,” she said.

However, the Terrells gardened there for years, according to the biographies on the program for the site’s groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 31.

“In the summertime, (I.T. Terrell) never went anywhere without taking some vegetables from his garden to give away,” the program read.

The Terrells displayed other qualities endearing them to the community, the program said.

“He was a facilitator who made things available to people to help them reach their goals, always willing to extend a helping hand to anyone in need. He was the go-to guy for many friends and relatives and respected anyone who respected themselves,” according to the program notes. “She was a person of very simple needs and always felt blessed for the things she had. In addition to gardening, she loved sewing and cooking and was able to utilize those skills when she worked in the Austell School cafeteria, and later at Lamar’s Clothing Store making alterations.”

Anderson said their horticulture tradition will continue with residents, including some of the city’s youngest gardeners.

“It’s near Austell Elementary, so students can come over and take a little field trip and get some learning about planting,” she said.

Other partners in the project are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Floodplain Management Services, Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, NRCS and Caraustar.
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