Is the greenway’s Soo Line Garden closer to being permanent?

The Midtown Greenway Coalition (MGC) will take steps to preserve the Soo Line Community Garden at 2639 Aldrich Ave. S., which has flourished for 14 years on Hennepin County property.

The MGC and other community members want to ensure that the garden, which renews its contract with Hennepin County annually, will be a permanent fixture in the Whittier neighborhood.

On Oct. 27, the greenway coalition approved a resolution to encourage the county to work with Soo Line gardeners and other partners to find a way to secure the garden’s livelihood.

MGC Director Tim Springer said the organization would send a letter to the county, asking for its support.

Said Springer, “One of the interests of the Midtown Greenway Coalition is to make sure that any public lands continuous with the greenway are active and safe and integrated within the local community. The gardening functions at the Soo Line Garden achieve all those objectives nicely.”

The organization includes the community garden in its overarching plan to make permanent 12 similarly beautiful spaces around the greenway’s fringes. These sites serve as graceful entrances, rest stops, green spaces, parks and public squares.

However, the MGC isn’t sure of what the garden’s future is likely to be. The county may need to transfer property ownership to another entity such as the Park Board, Springer said.

Soo Line gardener Ila Duntemann said she’s excited about the MGC’s support. Duntemann said, “It’s just a fine thing to continue with our permanency. Things are moving forward, and we’re feeling good.”

Because of the lingering uncertainty, Springer invites community participation in discussing land use planning for parcels along the edge of the greenway. “We’re always struggling to engage community members more and more in that process. I’d like to extend an open invitation for people to get involved in the coalition,” he added.

For more on the greenway coalition, see www.midtowngreenway.org or call 879-0103.