Decatur works to re-establish orchard at Legacy Park propertyMembers of the Decatur Youth Council plant fruit trees at Legacy Park, Pictured, left to right are Alden Wright, Sydney Wagner and Alix Wagner. Photo credit: Sydney Wagner, Decatur Youth Council.
By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Decatur, GA – The city of Decatur has been developing Legacy Park since it bought the property of the former United Methodist Children’s home in 2017.
Legacy Park is the former United Methodist Children’s Home campus and consists of 77 acres off of South Columbia Drive.
Fruit trees and bushes were planted along the north side of the property in early 2019 and since then additional volunteer events have occurred which include mulching and installing trellises, said Angela Threadgill, planning and economic director for the city of Decatur.
“One challenge the orchard faces is that the trees are still fragile and susceptible to damage. Fencing around the orchard is being considered to protect the trees, which may lead to another community volunteer event,” Threadgill said in an email.
The Decatur Legacy Park master plan, which was adopted in 2018, sets aside more than half an acre of land to re-establish the orchard, she added. A pecan grove is also planned on another half-acre near the orchard.
Decaturish previously reported that the Decatur Youth Council and volunteers from Decatur High School planted 25 blackberry bushes, 19 pear trees and 14 apple trees that were obtained through the Atlanta Local Food Initiative.
The DYC was involved during the public participation process of the master plan. One goal of DYC is to develop a project or event that builds community each year.
“After learning about a grant program that helps plant community orchards, the DYC saw a perfect opportunity to begin implementation on the master plan they helped envision,” Threadgill said. “The DYC was successful in receiving the grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) Orchard Project, which provided fifty fruit trees and bushes.”
“The number of fruit trees planted represents the number of children who first lived at the property nearly 150 years ago. The Legacy Park Orchard commemorates the history of the land and its former occupants, and provides an orchard that feeds, teaches, and inspires the Decatur community,” she added.
The DYC is still engaged in the orchard project, but for the long-term, the Legacy Park Orchard will become an extension of Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, a unique garden space managed by Global Growers, Threadgill said.
“Global Growers will soon begin to manage, harvest and sell the fruit as part of their programming with any revenue from fruit sales to go directly to the non-profit organization,” she said.
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