For almost 2 years after it caught fire in October 2008, the 2-story home at 803 Kipling St. in Audubon Place stood vacant on the property as a burnt skeleton. Now the recent purchaser of the lot that remained after the property was demolished has plans to turn the land into a community garden.
Audubon Place resident William Winkler has drawn up plans to fit twenty 4-ft.-by-20-ft. raised beds fashioned out of 2-in.-thick cedar boards on the 8,400-sq.-ft. property on the southwest corner of Stanford and Kipling, each of them a foot high. He hopes to fence the property and add a large storage shed and an attached covered pavilion. Greenleaf Gardens, he says, will “strive for self-sufficiency.”
For now, though, he’s amending the soil in a portion of the lot where he plans to plant fruit trees. With all of the improvements paid for, he hopes to lease out each planting bed for $40 a month, with 1-year terms — including all water, fertilizer, and use of tools — so he can break even on the annual costs. Greenleaf Garden tenants would also receive a share of the harvest from perennial plants on the property — including several berry patches and permanent artichoke and asparagus beds — once they begin producing.
“I do not like how the inner city has allowed lots to be subdivided to such a degree that you’re lucky to get a 10’ x 10’ patch of grass to call a yard,” Winkler wrote to in an email announcing his plan to neighborhood residents. “This is no way to live.” He hopes to have the beds ready for planting this fall.