Gateway Garden Preservation & Expansion

2017 Gateway Garden Preservation & Expansion

DONATE HERE to preserve and expand this valuable community resource.
Contact planning@bcochicago.org to volunteer.

If you pass by the corner of Balmoral and Ravenswood, you’ve probably noticed a large “FOR SALE” sign right next to the community garden maintained by the Bowmanville Community Organization (BCO). The owner of this long narrow parcel (in the picture below, located between the yellow line and the Metra retaining wall) has put his land up for sale to be redeveloped into single family homes.

If this property were to be sold, over 40 community members would lose access to the public land on which they garden, Rogers Park Montessori School would lose the teaching plot that serves as an outdoor classroom for the school’s nascent food gardening program, and the neighborhoods of Bowmanville, West Andersonville, and West Edgewater would lose much needed open space.

In the face of this threat, the BCO has partnered with NeighborSpace (http://neighbor-space.org), a non-profit sponsor of over 100 community gardens in the Chicago area, to purchase this land so that the existing garden can be preserved and expanded into a forum for urban agriculture and community building.  A project that could look something like this…

Our (very doable) vision is to create spaces for year-round food growing, accessible gardening for the elderly and persons with disabilities, ecological education for kids and parents, and a quiet oasis in our dense urban environment. However, this dream will not be realized without significant participation from the community.

We are excited to announce that our offer on the property has been accepted on the condition that the community raise $50,000 by the end of the summer.

The OPEN COMMUNITY MEETING on April 12 was a great start and showed wide support from the broader community for our efforts.  We can bring this talk on the road and come to you to discuss this project with your neighbors or group.  If you have a chance where we can come speak, please let us know at planning@bcochicago.org!  DNAInfo did a nice article about us.

We have some great ways for you to support our efforts – with time or money, and some fun along the way.

One garden supports another – a tale of two gardens.
Victory Garden Theater supports the Gateway Garden effort April 29-June 4.

Neighbor and Gateway Fundraising Ambassador Diana Leifer has brought us this wonderful opportunity to support local theater, a neighborhood artist, and the Gateway project through one lovely night at the theater.

Bowmanville neighbor, Arlene Malinowski, a talented playwright, actor, and storyteller, performs her one-woman play, “A Little Bit Not Normal” at the Victory Gardens Theater April 29-June 4.  The theater has generously offered to donate 25% of ticket sales purchased using the promo code, BOWMANVILLE, to support efforts to secure the Gateway Garden land. Tickets are a VERY reasonable $20.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to enjoy Arlene’s delightful production and to support this exciting community project.  More info & tickets for the show at Victory Gardens here.  If you are going on a certain date, post to our BCO Facebook page to invite neighbors to join you.

Midsommarfest – Help Staff the BCO Beer Tent on Friday June 9
Every Midsommarfest, the Andersonville Chamber invites a few non-profit groups to help staff their beer tents as a way to earn $$ for local causes.  This year the BCO Gateway Garden Preservation & Expansion effort was invited to staff the Catalpa Beer Tent on Friday night, with our non-profit dollars earned going to the garden fund.  If you think you can help pour & serve beer that night please sign up.  If we have enough interest, we will confirm and work out specific shift assignments. Click here to express interest in helping staff the BCO Catalpa beer tent on Friday June 9.  This effort can raise about $2000 for our cause, just by pouring some beers and enjoying a Friday night with friends.

Block Party Challenge 
Calling all Bowmanville blocks who hold block parties!
We are asking for your help to raise some $$ for the Gateway project during your block party.  A pie throwing booth?  Hot Dog sales?  A donation jar?  A collection campaign to your neighbors for a block party contribution?  We even heard an awesome concept where one neighbor on a block offered a matching gift for funds raised by the block.  We will spotlight your efforts on the BCO Facebook page and in the Bee.  Let us know how we can help you make it happen.  Contact us here to talk details.

House Parties – call for hosts!
This was such a fun way to bring neighbors together when we started the BCO GreenSpace campaign 7 years ago – we’d like to bring it back for the Gateway Garden project!  If you are willing to host an event or party in support of the Gateway Garden project, let us know and we will support your efforts.  Ideas we’ve seen work well; a chili cook-off, HamBingo at Hamburger Mary’s, a yard or garden party at a neighbors, a birthday bash.  There are so many fun ways to host these – do it on your own or pair up with a neighbor to host something, pick a theme and run with it.  Contact us to let us know you’re interested.

DONATE HERE to preserve and expand a valuable community resource.

Please help us spread the word about this exciting project and the fundraising needs and opportunities.  If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or want to help out please email planning@bcochicago.org.

Growth and Compassion,

Stew Weiss
Board of Directors
Planning & Development chair
Bowmanville Community Organization

planning@bcochicago.org