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Community Development

Community Gardens in Parks Plan
August 2022 to March 2023

The City's Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) fulfills the ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gasses, build resilience to climate hazards, and support access to basic needs for all residents. The CCAP envisions a resilient and accessible city where all residents have access to high-quality green space, healthy food, clean air and water, and good, green jobs. Throughout the CCAP planning process, efforts to expand healthy food access emerged as the top community priority to support climate action locally.  As such, Cedar Rapids is taking action to ensure all residents have affordable and accessible options for growing and consuming healthy, culturally relevant food.

The City's first action in supporting increased food access is a community-driven planning process to add to the network of community gardens in parks across the City. Community gardens can provide numerous benefits to neighborhoods through improved healthy food choices, instilling a sense of pride, and creating opportunities to connect with neighbors. The City’s efforts to expand garden spaces will begin with new plots at Sinclair Park (Phase 1) and end with Community Gardens in Parks Plan that prioritizes the implementation of community gardens in 7 to 10 additional City Parks (Phase 2). As the project progresses, updates will be provided below with the most recent updates appearing first.

Have questions?
Contact the Community Development Department at (319) 286-5041 or email Planner, Haley Sevening at h.sevening@cedar-rapids.org.

Interested in renting a garden plot, including at the NEW Sinclair Community Garden? Visit our garden plot rental webpage to learn more!

Community Garden in City Parks Plan Steering Committee
- formed October 2022
Emmaly Renshaw (Feed Iowa First)
Hailee Sandberg (ISU Extension)
Jacquie Montoya (Linn County Public Health)
Matthew Arndt (Matthew 25)
Aron Brecht (HACAP)
Andrew Osterkamp (Current Gardener - Gardner)
Lynn Johnson (Current Gardener - Tuma)
Tom Polehna (Current Gardener - Tuma)
Ken Manzel (Current Gardener - Ellis)

Phase 2 - Community Gardens in Parks Plan (February 2023 Update)
Following in-person public engagement events and online surveying last fall, a draft Community Gardens in Parks Plan has been completed and is available below. The Plan document includes an overview of the planning process; concept plans for potential future garden sites; and discussion on management of the garden program including plot fees, maintenance and operations, programming and community partnerships, and funding opportunities. The City held an open house on March 2, 2023, and also had a short survey open for community feedback. The information presented at the Open House is linked below.

March 2, 2023 Open House Poster Boards

Draft Community Gardens in Parks Plan - Full Document

Draft Community Garden Concept Plans
*Click on each plan to view an enlarged version.

Cherry Hill Community Garden Concept Plan
Huston Community Garden Concept Plan
Lincolnway Community Garden Concept Plan
Noelridge Community Garden Concept Plan

Reed Community Garden Concept Plan

Tokheim Community Garden Concept Plan
Twin Pines Community Garden Concept Plan

Phase 2 - Community Gardens in Parks Plan (December 2022 Update)
Phase 2 of the project is underway and the project team has been hard at work:
•    Promoting the Community Garden Survey open to the public (open mid-October through November, now closed).
•    Determining a short list of 17 potential parks for further analysis on garden feasibility.
•    Creating a park selection rubric to get the 17 potential parks down to 7 to 10 final parks.
•    Analyzing survey results to understand where in Cedar Rapids there is demand for community gardens and what elements are desired at each garden. 
•    Beginning to develop a management plan for garden management and operation.

An update on each of the above items was provided to the Steering Committee on December 13, 2022. The presentation provided to the Committee and a map of the 17 potential parks under consideration are available below.

December 13, 2022 - Steering Committee Presentation

Potential Parks for Community Gardens Map

The next step in the project will be utilizing feedback received through the survey and other engagement efforts to help inform the final 7 to 10 parks selected and the development of the Community Garden in City Parks Plan document. A draft of the Community Gardens in City Parks Plan is anticipated to be available in late February and additional opportunities to provide input will be available at that time. 

Phase 1 - Sinclair Park Community Garden (December 2022 Update)
This Fall the Parks Department began construction at Sinclair Park to provide ADA accessible parking, a concrete path to the garden area, and a concrete pad for raised garden beds. The Parks Department will prepare the in ground garden plots in the Spring (2023) and plots will be available for rental in March. More information about garden plot rental is available on the Garden Plot Rental webpage.

Parking resized - Copy   Concrete Pathway  

Concrete Pad for Raised Beds

Phase 1 - Sinclair Park Community Garden (October 2022 Update)
Based on input received, the below concept plan was developed for the Sinclair Park Community Garden. Construction at Sinclair Park will begin this Fall (2022). 
Sinclair Park Community Garden Concept Plan
*Click on image to view an enlarged version.

Phase 1 - Sinclair Park Community Garden (September 2022 Update)

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, City representatives held an outreach event at Sinclair Park to get feedback on the potential garden design. 

Poster Boards - Sinclair Park Outreach Event 9/7/2022

Input received is helping to shape the final garden design and amenities offered at the Sinclair Park Community Garden to ensure it reflects the community’s priorities. Here are some of the things we heard about the proposed Sinclair Park Community Garden:

Sinclair Garden Dot Voting for Preferred Amenities   

Sinclair Garden Dot Voting for Preferred Amenities - Second Sheet

Sinclair Garden Concept Plan 1 Comments

Sinclair Garden Concept Plan 2 Comments

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