The relief in Sandy Darling’s voice is palpable when asked about a small community garden nestled into a Grover Beach neighborhood.
About four months ago, the fate of the garden at 920 Brighton Ave. was uncertain. The city, facing a budget crunch, hoped to sell it for residential use.
Then, nearby residents Linda and Darrell Voth decided to buy the property, securing its future as a garden. About a dozen people currently lease plots at the garden.
“Everybody is just thrilled,” Darling said recently. “The anxiety about how long we were going to be there and the pressure (is gone).”
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In the past few months, the Voths have made some small but significant changes.
They’ve renamed the park Brighton Avenue Garden and installed a new sign, which Darling donated.
They created two new garden spaces — bringing the number of plots up to 20 — removed stubborn grass from the walkway, installed a decomposed granite path and cleared away debris.
They also raised the rent to $48 every six months from $30, which helps pay for water, trash collection and property taxes.
“We aren’t going to be collecting enough to pay for everything but it will help a little more,” Linda Voth said.
Linda Voth said activity is a little slower this time of year, with winter approaching and the holiday season underway. But she finds time to tend her plot nearly every day, where she grows carrots, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, collards and other vegetables.
“I enjoy the peace of mind of not having to worry about what’s going to happen to it,” she said. “That was really very troubling to me.”
She still hopes to make some additional improvements, including adding another fruit tree to the rear of the property.
In the meantime, two to three gardening sports are available or will be after Jan. 1. Anyone interested in leasing a spot should contact Darling at 481-4767.
“It’s a totally pleasant environment now,” Darling said. “No one has to beat the grass back from the walkway. We spend more time in the garden rather than trying to keep the grass out.”
Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.