News

Groups pull out of demonstration garden

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Tough economic times have led two of three organizers of the Olympic Peninsula Demonstration Garden in the Water Reuse Demonstration Site to pull out of the 4-acre project.

 

The City of Sequim entered into a multi-year agreement with the Washington State University Clallam County Extension Office and the Master Gardener Foundation of the Olympic Peninsula in 2008 to maintain a portion of the reuse site west of the James Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Paul Haines, City of Sequim public works director, said a provision in the agreement allowed either party to withdraw with 90 days written notice.

 

“Right now, they are in that 90-day period and are still responsible,” Haines said.

 

“Once that’s done, it’ll roll back into the city and we’ll be looking for volunteers to help with what is installed there.”

 

Clea Rome, WSU Clallam County Extension director, said the garden is part of an outreach program from her office and the Master Gardeners.

 

“Foundation members have put a lot time into establishing the garden and financial investment and with times as they are, the foundation’s financial situation and our programming activities have shifted over those years,” Rome said.

 

“There’s just not the money there for the amount of programming they hope to achieve and the resources to do any one of those activities is limited.”

 

The garden is a long-term phased project that currently features a terrace with multiple plants and benches. In the future, the plan was to expand into the nearby grassy area.

 

“There’s a wonderful and expansive vision for the garden,” Rome said. “What’s there is only a fraction.”

Both Haines and Rome confirm interest from volunteers to maintain the garden.

 

“Many people are still interested in seeing the full vision fulfilled,” Rome said.

 

Haines said city staff is interested in preserving the area and that it’s a small piece of their many collaborations in parks.

 

“Sequim has 20 to 30 groups who use or develop the parks in some ways like Sequim Family Advocates and the Dog Park folks,” he said.

 

“(WSU and Master Gardeners) had one relatively small corner to do that.”

 

Rome said both groups are proud of the garden. “We recognize it is a great community resource,” she said.

 

Rome said no other Master Gardener and WSU projects are affected at this time.

 

Contact the WSU Clallam County Extension Office, 223 E. Fourth St., Suite 15, Port Angeles, at 417-2279.

 

Contact Sequim Public Works and Community Development at 683-4908.

 

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