Glen Park ‘fruit forest’ gets unanimous approval

Glen Park ‘fruit forest’ gets unanimous approval
The Encinitas City Council will decide on the approval of a “fruit forest” in Glen Park as a way to honor former city councilmember and Mayor Teresa Barth. File photo

ENCINITAS — A proposal to create a grove of edible fruit trees in Glen Park dedicated to former City Councilwoman Teresa Barth received the City Council’s unanimous endorsement Wednesday night.

The Council approved three separate items that comprised the overall approval: First, they approved the pilot project, which will be organically maintained; second, a memorandum of understanding between the city and two local nonprofits that breaks down each party’s responsibilities for the project’s first year; and thirdly, naming the park after Barth, who served on the council for eight years before not seeking re-election in 2014.

The creation of a fruit forest in honor of Barth has been discussed since December 2014, when a group of residents announced their intent to pursue the project at Glen Park during Barth’s farewell ceremony. The proposal was met by applause and a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance.

The city has been working with the two groups — the Cardiff 101 MainStreet Association and Healthy Day Partners — since February on the project, which calls for the planting of a grove of 10 to 15 fruit trees on the north side of the park, near the Scout House.

The Parks and Recreation Commission voted in support of the park proposal in September.

According to the staff report, the city would use an $8,500 turf removal grant and a donation of 40 yards of organic mulch to prepare the park site for the tree planting.

The memorandum of understanding calls for the two nonprofits to plant the trees, install the irrigation, signage, provide volunteers and perform maintenance for the first year.

The City staff report included a couple points about the project that the Council reviewed, but ultimately determined were acceptable.

Organically maintaining the proposed fruit grove — which would prohibit the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides — could raise the maintenance budget for Glen Park, currently at $35,000, by $2,000 to $10,000. The increase is due to the fact that organic pest and weed-management practices take more man-hours and more frequent applications.

“Due to the potential of reduced effectiveness of organic materials and the elimination of synthetic “pre-emergent” herbicides that suppress weeds prior to germination, labor cost may double,” parks staff wrote in the council report.

The second point involved the naming of the grove after Barth, which only meets two of the six thresholds in the city’s naming policy. The Parks and Recreation Commission voted 4-1 in favor of naming the park after Barth.

A tree planting ceremony at Glen Park will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 3.

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