For two decades, neighbors John Jernegan and Kathy Collins have cultivated the 39th Avenue garden (at the corner of 39th Avenue and Victor, adjacent to the EBMUD Reservoir property) for all to enjoy. Before their efforts, it was covered with asphalt and a magnet for trash and crime. Prostitution, drug dealing, and dumping were frequent, and at one point a stolen car was even torched there! With time and lots of TLC, John and Kathy have made it a safe and beautiful place.
In March 2017 in response to problems with the irrigation system, EBMUD cut the water supply to the garden.
Currently, John and Kathy are providing water from their own houses to keep plants alive! A small group of immediate neighbors and the Redwood Heights Association are reaching out to community organizations, the City, and EBMUD. Our goal is to raise funds for a new irrigation system and establish a permanent water supply.
Saving this garden is an issue of maintaining neighborhood security as well as preserving a beautiful community asset.
After much back and forth, the cost estimate to reinstall the water would exceed $45,000! With this news, the residents maintaining the garden decided to replace many plants, making the garden drought-tolerant vs. taking on an expensive water project. It's not a perfect solution, especially when considering these neighbors water the garden from their own homes when needed. RHA will continue to support the garden based on donations received identifying this initiative.
Part of the challenge with this project was that ownership of the property could not be identified. Thankfully this has finally been resolved, and it has been determined that this is a City property. RHA is in the process of securing a Conditional Use Permit so the project to update the irrigation system can move forward.
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