Since 1975, Wilton’s Community Gardens, located on the northwest side of Allen’s Meadow (429 Danbury Rd.), have been available to residents through a Parks and Recreation Department program. But that’s about to change.
The state leases Allen’s Meadow land it owns to Wilton. The town utilizes the bulk of the meadow for fields used by youth sports and Wilton High School sports teams.
At Tuesday night’s July 19 Board of Selectmen meeting, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice advised the other members about some new developments affecting the gardens.
“We recently received notice from CT DOT [Department of Transportation] that gardening is not allowed under the state’s lease with the Town,” Vanderslice wrote to the selectmen in advance of the meeting.
“This prohibition is not unique to Wilton,” Vanderslice added.
“Fortunately, [the state has] agreed to work with us to give us some time to cure this,” she told the selectmen. “We are looking at alternative locations.”
According to Vanderslice, the state indicated a concern about the use of pesticides by people renting garden plots. Town officials have informed current gardeners that they are no longer able to use pesticides while Wilton searches for a suitable garden location.
Access to a water source is one factor limiting the potential new locations. Vanderslice also noted that the potential for room for growth would also be a consideration.
In the meantime, the Town is refunding the gardeners’ $45 fee due to the “disruption.”
Vanderslice sees one silver lining.
“Allen’s has been a good home to the gardens, but we expect ultimately a less congested property without the sports-related traffic and activity is ultimately a better and more attractive site for the community gardens,” she said.
Editor’s note: The story was updated to clarify that the state of Connecticut owns a portion of Allen’s Meadodw, not the entire meadow.