Rooting And Reading–Can A Community Farm And Library Co-Exist?

From community garden website.

In a neighborhood old-timers call Whiskey Hill–they brewed their own up there during Prohibition–a spirited battle looms over a piece of property home to the Reservoir Community Farm and supporters lobbying the turf for a library.

The Connecticut Post’s Brian Lockhart foreshadows the possibilities.

Run by the Bridgeport-based Green Village Initiative, the 8-year-old farm’s lease for 1.5 acres of municipal property at Reservoir Avenue and Yaremich Drive expires in March 2022.

And activists and elected officials from that neighborhood have for some time been pressuring Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration to instead build a library there.

“That’s one of the main reasons why we supported Mayor Ganim,” Steve Nelson, a North End community leader, said, referring to the incumbent’s 2019 reelection. “He promised he would support us and make it happen. … [Neighborhood] kids have no access to a library. They have to go all the way downtown or to Madison Avenue.

… But Jim O’Donnell, the public library board president, in an interview this week said although the garden land would be “an ideal location,” nothing has been decided and that the board would want the neighborhood to reach a consensus.

“We don’t want to force a library into that neighborhood. No,” O’Donnell said. “Everybody needs to be on the same page.”

Full story here.



  1. Well ,the community seems to really enjoy the garden , but a library is also needed. Sounds to me if both cam fit into the property then win win, buttttttttttttt history says that it will drag on for a good 10-15years….i’m not saying it will, but history says so

    1. Coach T, I agree with you, I’m sure that both can be done. Green Village Initiative, the 8-year-old farm has shown that the community wants this garden plus the garden will have a eductional value, a win win.

  2. Community Garden are sound for umban communities on abandon land that services a purpose of combating blight in said community. I can’t speak on development but any decent size library will take up the entire lot.

    That being said, if their is anybody who feels a make shit garden trumps, not referring to 45, a libaray cares less about a community and more about their view, fight, side even if Black Jesus built it.

    It’s a not brianer. I do want to see who’s against a library over community garden. It’s going to be hard for that side other other then playing both side to not look bad, but lines will have to be drawn because that lot can’t fit on the lot of land, JS.

    Coach- T, Comrade, Pick one or a side Library or community garden?

    P.S Anyone who picks the community garden over a library care less about teh community (minority) and more about their side, stop being selfish and one side, spread your love, people need how to learn how to read. 🤣

  3. There are plenty of gardens around the country in schools, there even grants for these gardens so there’s no reason when designing the library that a garden be in te plans.

  4. If you go back in history, I believe this was a commercial piece of property that burned down and the remains of the structures were torn down. It was eventually seized by the city.
    It went out to bid and plans were submitted to develop it again into commercial property. Those were stalled and it was agree to put in a temporary community garden until the commercial development could be restarted.
    What happened to those plans? If they are dead, then someone owes the city money for keeping the property underdeveloped for all of these years or the city owes the taxpayers an explanation as to why it can not sue the proposed developer for lost revenue.
    Just add this to the list of things that wnet bad during the Ganim / Finch years.

  5. Ron, I believe that its more a question if there enough land to build them both………you want the community to have a nice, good size library. don’t want it to be just good enough….be happy you got something……It deserves all the bells and wistles are all the libraries in the suburbs

  6. I agree but you don’t want a patch either……….tip of my head I don’t know if there’s another piece of property in the near vicinity, but is there???

  7. In the vicinity you have Wilbur Cross and the middle school (name escapes me at the moment). As well as Elton Rogers Park. A little bit further away but not used for anything.

  8. Do Bridgeport neighborhoods have meetings on a regular basis to solicit, discuss, review, or provide sense of what is missing and can be prioritized for inclusion in current department operations, future capital needs, or could be technically possible (as proven in other similar neighborhoods or communities)? Annually? Every year? Who calls them to order? And sees that voter input shows up later before City Council and at budget times?
    If this is not happening in neighborhoods, why not? If there is an NRZ, maybe such a local land specific organization is a good place to start?
    If community conversations can bring better appreciation for what is right sizing an idea in a time when libraries and gardens are appreciated, would this be an opportunity to see how rapidly a building of any size can get built with the other Capital projects on their construction schedule? And whether their budgets can manage the personnel budgets going forward? And whether technology has some answers for size issues and budgets?
    Why doesn’t the Library Board and staff create a dog and pony video show with facts and figures to educate the City…..fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers? Time will tell.

  9. I don’t see the debate, a community garden or a LIBRARY! This should be the easiest decision ever made, do the children of Bridgeport need a LIBRARY? Hell yes. My love for reading and for words came from my love for our LIBRARY. Good job Steve Nelson, keep fighting for our children’s education.

  10. Steve Nelson conveniently neglects to mention that there is a new library under construction On East Main St just south of Noble, diagonally across from Cumberland Farms, on the land formerly occupied by a Chinese Buffet restaurant.
    This may be closer than a trip downtown to the ancient main branch.

    Can Bridgeport afford two new libraries and the cost of employees, books, media, furniture, computers, fixtures, utilities when it is flat broke????

    Why not let the new library open and see the volume of users before determining the need for another new branch?

    Libraries have been under utilized during the Pandemic and many who used to go to the physical buildings may not return on a regular basis. I used to go to the library, both here in Trumbull and Madison Ave, Bridgeport at least three times per week, Now, I have gotten used to downloading library books on my e-reader. I don’t know how fast I’ll return to the physical buildings.

    I suggest the community garden be given a two year lease to continue operating while the effects of the not yet open new branch are studied. No need to terminate the garden when no study. plans. funding are in place for a new library on that spot/

    1. You conveniently neglected to mention East Main is cut off by route 8 from this community so for people in that community downtown is a better option. Not to mention libraries have not been underutilized during the pandemic the been shut down and Libraries are more the books. That being said I find your comment disingenuous. I will not go on to say it seems “bias” but definitely disingenuous.

      The only thing the seems authentic was the fact books are relics of the past. Like most businesses, libraries will have to adapt and change with the times and morph into a library/community center of some type. JS

      P.S Marcus where do you stand on stoning those players to death who are playing those abomination sports? Do I have your vote? 😂 Amen. 🙂

      Keeping with the theme of black Jesus. 🤣

      1. @RobertT
        Here in Trumbull libraries closed, reopened three hours a day, closed again, but have outdoor pickup of books and videos ordered on their website.
        One can use Chopsey Hill Rd to avoid getting on RT 8 to access the not yet opened new branch,
        As for your black Jesus theme, I don’t if he is depicted, white, black, pink, green or magenta, totally irrelevant to my life, I’m Jewish and don’t believe in his possible divinity.
        I don’t throw stones at anyone for any reason, and don’t believe in the death penalty. So, find someone else to join you.

        1. I said libraries are underutilized because they are shut down, closed, reopen, only for pickup, they are not the same as they were before the pandemic that is why they are underutilized. As taking chopsey Hill, it is a distance. it would be quicker to go on the highway and get off downtown, then drive on Boston Ave and East Main Street pending on where you live in that community. that’s splitting hairs. it’s a distance away, the library will be for the community as the community garden is/ was, not to mention one can also drive to Trumbull Library ,up Reservoir Ave, up White Plains too.As for throwing stones that’s Jewish law is it not? you are a Jew right then you must follow the laws, right? As for Jesus you have something in common. He too didn’t care about throwing stones. P.S, while you may find Jesus irrelevant, regardless of his color you follow him more than the Jewish laws when it comes to throwing stones. maybe it’s safe to say the Jewish laws are more irrelevant than Jesus when it comes to picking up the stone no?js

          1. To put it bluntly, you don’t know sh*t about my religious practices. The person you call Jesus was a Jew and I don’t follow him at all. He and I follow(ed) parts of the same religion.
            Lots cannot be observed since the Temple was destroyed………………no animal sacrifices, etc,

          2. I only know what I read and I’m not a big reader. But it was a law for the Jewish people to kill gays Stone adulterers? But you’re right I know s*** about your practices but I know this your post that was seemingly against building a library the this community was disingenuous. I am pretty sure we both can agree on that. JS

          3. Robert
            you are full of sh*t
            My post suggested renewing the garden lease for two years while studying the use and needs of the Bridgeport library system, not shutting down the garden for a library that has not been approved and funded.

            But, as you say, you don’t read, you just make false accusations

          4. Please, study for a new library the topic of question was what should go there a library or the garden and what’s better for the community not dance around the feasibility of a library PS I didn’t say I didn’t read I said I am not a big reader but there it is, disingenuous words

  11. If choice is between a garden or a library that’s easy, it’s the library but for 8 years when there was nothing on that property it was the community that took othing and made something, they put in the time and care to make something positive.

    JML, makes some good points when he said, do Bridgeport neighborhoods have meetings on a regular basis to solicit, discuss, review, or provide sense of what is missing and can be prioritized for inclusion in current department operations, future capital needs, or could be technically possible (as proven in other similar neighborhoods or communities)? Who owns that property and Bob Walsh points out that there’s in the vicinity enough there’s more than enough land to have both a garden and a library. Let’s look outside the box.

    1. Ron,
      Thank you for seeing some sense in neighborhood communities coming together regularly to begin, continue, dig deeper, have informed guests as speakers, create opportunities for Q&A and raise the public level of “informedness” and let neighbors see and hear from others after this year of great difficulty in gathering. Have we too often settled for representatives only bringing forth predigested ideas, alternatives, or solutions from the hierarchy in power? How often have we heard one or more of the seven steps to stagnation, including ‘”it costs too much”, “it won’t work”, “we tried it before”, etc.? Let’s liven up our community conversations as COVID 19 practices permit and gather, create open and respectful agendas, and listen to folks? Here it is March already, with City Council Budget and Appropriations ready to give up lots of hours to sorting through “the Plan from ON=HIGH” and Ganim2 has not used the time to prepare, promote and inform the community of what we are facing and necessary changes. Why not? The question has been raised as to “Where is Joe?” for days or weeks at a time. Why is that? Time will tell.

  12. Using the average price of $1,948 per pound in Colorado, an acre of marijuana can yield more than $1.1 million per acre.

    Comparatively, the most widely grown crops in the U.S., including corn, soybeans, oats and wheat, all yield less than $1,000 per harvested acre.

    Even with more competition in the legal marijuana market, which could cause prices to fall, the revenue margin will remain significantly greater for marijuana crops than for other cash crops.

  13. Jimfox, people from Bridgeport that use Medical Marijuana have to go to one of two Dispensary’s in Milford to get their medicine because Bridgeport didn’t want a Medical Dispensary in the city. Like they couldn’t use the tax dollars that these new businesses would have generated. Now imagine them letting a grow house be built on that property.


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