Community Garden Project

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The Community Garden at McClellan Ranch Preserve was established in 1974 and has been a popular and sought-after amenity in the city of Cupertino. However, over the years, the garden has fallen into a state of disrepair and the local wildlife, i.e. ground squirrels and other rodents, have proliferated, forcing gardeners to take extensive measures, such as installing wire cages and screens, to protect their plots and their produce.

The Community Garden is currently closed, awaiting a much needed, major renovation. This project is included in the proposed Capital Projects budget for 2019/20.

In the new garden design, there are 17 Pods, each with their own irrigation system. Each “pod” is a community of 4-8 gardeners that can support each other in a secured plot area. We will have 77 total plots in 3 sizes and five ADA plots. All pathways will meet ADA requirements. The new design makes it easier for people of all abilities to enjoy the garden and the outdoor environment. There will also be a perimeter fence to protect the garden from larger wildlife such as deer. The footprint of the garden is slightly smaller to limit squirrels abilities to use trees to access the garden and to limit the encroachment of the property owned by the Santa Clara Water District. While the old garden had 60 defined plots, there was no consistency in sizes of the plots which made it difficult to provide plot rental fees that were consistent and equitable. In addition, there will be two areas that can be used for educational support or for anyone to sit and enjoy the garden.

Benefits of a Public Garden
There is a new epidemic of stress, anxiety, and depression sweeping across the United States. It affects people of all ages, working or not. Gardening offers a plethora of health benefits including: stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, and improved moods. The activity of gardening also provides opportunities for exercise which generates endorphins which is important to reducing anxiety and stress. Not all people have access to a place they can garden. It is important to the health and wellness of a community to encourage activities that create a healthy environment for its community. Cupertino Parks and Recreation can offer those opportunities given funding that supports expansion, staffing, and development.

Community gardens contribute to a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Providing fresh, safe, affordable herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Helping to relieve stress and increase a sense of wellness.
  • Getting people active, which improves overall physical health.
  • Providing social opportunities that build a sense of community and belonging.

Community Garden benefit the community as they help:

  • Build welcoming, safer communities
  • Improve the look of neighborhoods
  • Reduce pollution by sequestering carbon and reducing the shipping of food over long distances
  • Support pollinator habitats that are necessary for community well-being
  • Reduce food insecurity
  • Connect people to nature
  • Educate people on where food comes from and provide an opportunity for people, especially in urban spaces, to engage with their food system
  • Provide an inclusive meeting area where people of all ages and cultural backgrounds can come together to share experiences and knowledge

Resource:
community-gardens.ca/content/benefits-community-gardens

Future Plans
Our community garden “program” will have demonstrations, classes, and activities on everything gardening for all community members. Our hope is to develop a robust community gardening program at McClellan that can expand and meet the needs of all of Cupertino. This type of program will include volunteers, young naturalists, non-profits and local business Our intent is to continue to improve this program when the new garden is constructed. Then, based on Master Plan surveys, research, and community input collected throughout the process of public meetings, expand the program by constructing smaller, neighborhood community gardens in parks that meet the site criteria for a community garden, such as space, sunshine, irrigation, physical accessibility, and appropriate soil conditions.

Budget and Bid History
Construction Budget:

A. Project startup (Bonds, mobilization, construction staking, temp. constr. Fence)  $ 62,100  
B. Demolition  $ 63,550  
C. Erosion Control   $ 26,680  
D. Earthwork & Grading  $ 75,730  
E. Site Construction (fences, gates, planter boxes, site concrete, DG paving, etc.)   $ 755,960  
F. Site Furnishings (entry sign, compost bins, bike racks, ADA signs, etc.)   $ 17,700  
G. Irrigation  $ 63,330  
H. Soil Prep & Fine Grading   $ 90,230  
I. Contingency (change orders for unforeseen items)  $ 115,530  
Subtotal  $ 1,270,810  
Bid Alternates: Entry kiosk, picnic tables, storage sheds, re-route electrical to 4H  $ 125,300  
Total Estimated Construction Cost   $ 1,396,110  

 

Bid History
The timeline presented initially was to solicit bids for the construction of the improvements in or around October 2018 and to complete the project by the beginning of spring 2019. Bids came in higher than expected so we went back to the drawing board to value engineer the project, which reduced to cost by $200k. We also relaxed the timeline to make it more appealing to potential bidders. As city-wide priorities changed this was deferred for a year, then defunded. In the special session on Monday, May 13, it was decided to place the community garden back onto the Category 1 list of funded projects with a final determination being made through the budget process.

Documents:
Community Garden PRC PowerPoint - April 5, 2018
March 18 CG Concept Design
Cupertino Community Garden
City Council Meeting - May 15, 2018

Timelines:
October 2018 – Gardens closed
 
Sept. 6, 2018 – Location: Environmental Education Center (EEC) -Focus Group met to identify garden issues and make recommendations for further action. This was a random group of new and long term gardeners, and environmental advocates recommended by Barbara Banfield and her staff.
 
May 20, 2018 – Council Study Session

May 15, 2018 - City Council Meeting
 
April 5, 2018 – Project brought to the Parks & Rec Commission.
 
Jan. 27, 2018 and February 8, 2018 – Hosted two public meetings at Quinlan Community Center. The first meeting talked about issues in the garden. Then, we asked for inputs from the participants to determine what we needed to make the garden successful.
 
November 2, 2017 – Staff (Kim Calame) Community Garden presentation to Parks and Recreation Commission (attached: presentation, Agenda))