Henry Horton State Park Seeks Public Input for Community Garden
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | 08:55am
A Series of Meetings Planned in March to Solicit Interest and Discuss Plans
CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. – Tennessee State Parks announced today its plans to initiate a community garden at Henry Horton State Park and will hold a series of public discussions in March, designed to solicit input from local citizens and to engage participation.
“When you think of Tennessee’s state parks, ‘community support’ is top of mind due to the supportive role our local citizens play in our parks’ overall success,” said Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “Planting a community garden is an excellent educational opportunity and a fitting tribute to the surrounding Chapel Hill community, as it truly harkens back to a time when Henry Horton State Park served as a working farm.”
While the plot of land has been tentatively chosen, Hill added that local input is crucial before park staff implements next steps. “This is a community garden, so we want community input,” Hill added.
Because the program is in its initial planning stages, park officials are encouraging community members to provide input. To accomplish this, Henry Horton State Park will hold a series of public discussions in March to kick off the project and to garner public interest and participation. The focus of the March meetings will be to announce the anticipated location of the garden, get feedback on the proposed timeline and open up the project to volunteers for the various tasks that lie ahead. The goal is to begin planting the garden this spring. Those meetings are:
· Tuesday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. – This will be an open forum for members of the public to learn more about the Community Garden. This fact-finding meeting, which will be held at the Inn at Henry Horton State Park, will help park staff better understand the community’s needs, while allowing members of the public to share ideas.
· Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m. – This will be second open forum opportunity at the Inn at Henry Horton State Park.
Some key discussion points at the two planned public forums will include the kind of garden the community desires. Will it contain vegetables or flowers or a combination of both? Who will the garden serve? What in-kind resources are available locally, such as tools, seeds or soil improvement/tilling? What will the garden be called?
“Whether you are an avid gardener, have thought about growing your own vegetables but have never tried, or simply want to interact with your community, this is the perfect opportunity,” said Park Manager Randy Whitworth. “We would like to see a big turnout out at these discussion meetings so we can move forward and truly make this garden a collective effort. We also hope the idea takes hold and we get a large group of volunteers – both young and old – all ready to get started and to get their hands dirty.”
Partial funding for the Henry Horton Community Garden project comes from a Healthy Communities grant given by the Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Giving back to our area neighborhoods is crucial in strengthening the long-time local partnerships our parks have always enjoyed,” said Whitworth. “I can’t think of a better way to bring the community together than planning something that will be collective and sustainable, while promoting a healthier lifestyle.”
Henry Horton is a 1,532-acre state park with four hiking trails, featuring an abundance of wildlife such as wild turkey, deer and many kinds of wildflowers. The park offers hours of family enjoyment whether it's swimming in the Olympic-sized pool, fishing along the Duck River, playing volleyball or basketball or just having a picnic. Henry Horton State Park also is well known for its championship 18-hole golf course, inn and cabins, campgrounds and trap and skeet range. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/HenryHorton.