Union Pacific helps local garden relocate

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - A community garden that's been in Webster Groves for 40 years will have to be removed from its plot near Glen Road and Greeley Avenue. The garden sits on Union Pacific Railroad property and the company says it's just not safe to grow there.

NewsChannel 5 has learned there's a compromise in the works. The railroad has been working with the city to relocate the garden to a spot a few blocks away.

"It's certainly reasonable," gardener Betsy Alexander said of the plan. "It's better than an immediate 'out you go' sort of thing."

Instead of tearing the garden out right away, the railroad will allow gardeners to keep their plants in the ground through the end of the growing season.

Union Pacific has offered up a piece of land near Glen and Hathorne Avenue and will even donate $1,000 start-up money.

"It was a very nice surprise," said Webster Groves mayor Gerry Welch.

But Welch says there's a dispute over who actually owns the land.

"The railroad believes that it owns the spot. We've looked through the deeds and believe the city owns the spot. And ultimately the community association has been taking care of this plot of ground," said Welch.

As a gardener Alexander has her own concerns.

"The whole process starts with the soil you're working with. So, what is down in that other spot is a total unknown."

And there's concern over the railroad keeping up with mowing around the old garden. Neighbors don't want to see it overgrown with tall grass and weeds like other areas just down the tracks.

Although the original garden is coming to an end, gardeners like Alexander hope its spirit will live on in the sun-soaked field a few blocks away.

"We'll see what happens."

Mayor Welch says the first step toward relocating the garden will be to figure out who owns the property near Hawthorne Ave. She says Union Pacific has been very helpful throughout the process and feels there will be a happy ending to this story.


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