Stevens Point 'Community Garden' Builders Ticketed

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Members of Down with Caps Collective, and other area residents, are turning an un-used piece of city land into a growing community garden.

But Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson says those residents took over the land next to the Center Point Mall without authority.

The four acre piece of land has been vacant for more than a decade, since Lullaby Furniture was demolished.

Two years ago the city bought it with plans to have it developed.

But last Monday a group of residents took over the land, built several plots of land with donated materials, and began to plant.

Many have camped on the site, taking turns watering the growing tomatoes, peas, carrots and countless other crops.

Stevens Point police have asked the group to leave and have put up "no trespassing" signs, which members have promptly taken down.

Thursday morning a few of them were given trespassing citations for $181.60 each.

But they say that won't stop them, and they have a right to be there.

"We are demonstrating that we have an oppressive goverment that isn't representing its people, they're not talking to them about what they want and long story short this is a city piece of land and we think we're the city," said Katie Kloth.

She says they're growing healthy food that will be free to whoever wants it.

John Ohrmundt agrees.

"It's a food revolution. The food system in our country is flawed and it needs to be changed radically I think," he said.

Mayor Halverson says he supports community gardens, but this piece of land is going to be developed into apartments.

"We can't have a $500,000 piece of property become an entire community garden and arguably be taken off the tax rolls for the multimillion dollars of investment that clearly oculd happen on the site," he said.

The mayor says the city has offered to move the garden to one of several locations, and pay for it.

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