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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bellingham City Council approves motion to keep Sven Hoyt Community Garden running.

This motion will also rename the garden after the late founder Sven Hoyt.

A screenshot of a map of the happy valley community garden.
A screenshot of a map of the happy valley community garden. 

By Courtney Gullett

The Bellingham City Council approved a motion authorizing the mayor to enter into a license agreement with the park-operated space, Happy Valley Community Garden. 

This motion was presented by Councilmember Lisa Anderson, the chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee.

“Happy Valley Community Garden is one of three city-operated community gardens and offers over 100 community garden spots,” Anderson said. 

The garden is located at 1116 32nd St., and there are two other community gardens in Bellingham: Fairhaven Community Garden and Lakeway Community Garden, according to the City of Bellingham website

“The Community Garden Program offers 195 plots where program participants can take advantage of 200 sq. feet of garden space to grow your own food and flowers. Garden plots are generally 10′ x 20′,” according to the City of Bellingham website. 

The motion includes an agreement that grants exclusive public community garden use and outlines operations, maintenance and use, Anderson said. 

The city requested to enter into a license agreement that will last 10 years and allow the city to upkeep the area, Anderson said. 

The landowners asked within the agreement that the park be renamed Sven Hoyt Community garden in memory of their late brother who started the garden, Anderson said. 

The Parks and Recreation Committee supports this agreement and has already made steps to change the Happy Valley name to Sven Hoyt, Anderson said. 

With this name change, a new sign is being made for the community garden, Anderson said. 

Bellingham resident and community garden user Andrew Cammen is happy with the new agreement. 

“I am glad the community has access to a public garden like this,” Cammen said. “An agreement like this guarantees us everyday users are allowed to use the space for years to come. Many of us do not have space at our homes for a garden.” 

The Sven Hoyt Community Garden not only includes spots for gardening but also a tool shed, kiosk, shady plots and compost. Parking is limited at the site so walking is suggested, according to the City of Bellingham website.

The spots are 200 sq. ft and are open year-round. Plot registration costs $40 per plot per calendar year. The community garden registration form can be found on the City of Bellingham website. 

Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Oliver presented a plan for the agreement at the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. 

“We realized that we didn’t have the right to run a garden in this location when we were trying to respond to the gardeners’ pleas for a deer fest,” Oliver said. “We went through three different brothers of Sven Hoyt, and we were able to negotiate a lease. It is only 10 years with the option of a 10 year renewal. … We may want to pursue purchasing it to keep this as a garden in perpetuity.”

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