Will the Bath Community Garden be restored?

by Trish Rudder

A decision by the Bath Town Council will be made at the September 5 meeting to allow the community garden to be restored and used again.

At the August 22 council meeting, Morgan County Master Gardener Donna Coates told the council members that she wants to revitalize the community garden that is next to the Bath Municipal Building on North Wilkes Street.

Melissa Shod, who lives next to the municipal building, said on Friday that she will help Coates.  She has been a community garden member and wants to help Coates come up with a plan that the town council will approve.

The 60×100 plot of land had been used as a garden since 2015 when Lee Barron and Joyce Morningstar Barron started it, but with the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of interest, the land has not been utilized.

Last July, community members received permission from the town council to get the land ready to use for the next growing season which was this past spring.

But there were delays in getting the garden ready, Shod said.

Shod said when the group learned its water source was removed, the plan collapsed.  Shod said on Friday that once the gutters were removed from the municipal building, there was no way to collect water to its rain barrel.

“Water is the issue,” Shod said.

The Bath Community Garden is overgrown and needs care.
photo by Trish Rudder

Mayor Scott Merki said on August 22 that “we could fill [the rain barrel] with water.”

Town Clerk Sharron Corrick pointed out that the town pays for its water use.

Since Shod lives next to the municipal building and watched the weeds take over the garden, she weed whacked the garden several times already to cut down the invasive weeds like Johnson Grass and Crown Vetch.

“Morning Glories have also taken over part of the garden,” she said.

Merki said he wants the garden cleaned up. He said if the land is not going to be used for a garden, the town will use it for parking– a plan that was in place last year before the town allowed the property to go forward with a garden that did not happen.

Shod said they have a “short list” of people willing to help and are asking for more help.

“We need community support to have a community garden” she said. “You don’t have to live in town to support the community garden.”

Coates was asked to come back to the next meeting with a plan for a community garden.

Shod said on Monday that people can sign up to participate in the community garden. There is a sign-up list on the cork board right inside the Town Hall office at 271 Wilkes Street.