The Berkeley Community Garden in the South End is getting a safety upgrade with the installation of a new 6-foot-high fence with a concrete retaining wall along the Dwight Street alley.
The Community Garden, located on East Berkeley Street between Tremont Street and Shawmut Avenue, is home to 159 garden plots kept by 144 different gardeners. The garden is divided into three adjacent Rows – Rows A, B, and C – each of which comprises around 50 plots.
Row A, which abuts the Dwight Street Alley, is home to 48 plots, has been temporarily vacated to make way for the installation of the new fence that will run alongside it. Northeastern University students joined the Row A gardeners to help complete this task as part of the fall cleanup of the Community Garden, which took place over the weekend of October. (The Berkeley Community Garden holds two cleanup events each year – the spring cleanup typically taking place in March; and the end-of-year cleaning, which typically occurs in late October or early November.)
Installation of the new fence then got underway on Nov. 1, and is expected to take around 10 weeks to complete, weather permitting, said Sarah Hutt, a member of the Berkeley Community Garden Leadership Committee and a gardener, now in Row C, at the Community Garden for about the past 20 years.
The Trustees of the Reservation, the nonprofit stewards of around 100 locations throughout the Commonwealth, including Berkeley Community Garden, , helped defray the approximately $250,000 cost of the fence via mitigation money the group received for two major South End developments projects – The Quinn, a luxury condo building that now occupies the former Quinzani Bakery site on Harrison Avenue; and an 11-story life science building planned for 80 East Berkeley St., said Hutt, who has been a resident of Washington Street since 1984.
The remaining cost of the project was underwritten via the annual dues paid by gardeners. The annual fee for gardeners is $65, and each gardener is also required to perform 12 hours of community work.
The old fence along the Dwight Street alley was an approximately 3-foot chain-link fence set in the ground while another fence runs beside East Berkley Street.
Every spring, trespassers have broken into the Community Garden by the climbing over the old fence abutting the Dwight Street alley. They have repeatedly ripped apart the irrigation system and often camped out in the Community Garden overnight, said Hutt.
“The new fence is important because a lot of neighbors have been saying the area needed to be cleaned up, and it will make the garden secure,” she said. “I hope that the fence will contribute to the neighborhood – if we’re secure, then they’re secure. Once we have the fence, we can be secure at night.”
Likewise, Andrea Wolley, a Tremont Street resident and a gardener in the A Row for the past four years, said of the new fence: “It’s long overdue and will make for a better aesthetic. It’s kind of a fresh start for people in the A Row.”