Activists decry end of Dayton’s Garden Station

Community activists came together Sunday to fight to keep what they say is a staple of downtown Dayton.

Garden Station is on a green space where people bring their dogs, and their kids, and also food on the land. It has been on East Fourth Street for more than eight years, but now the city has issued an Oct. 31 eviction order to make way for new development.

“I’d say it really represents the heart and soul of the community better than any other place in the city,” said Lisa Elm, founder of Garden Station who volunteers at least 20 hours a week.

She said more than 3,000 other volunteers helped build Garden Station into what it is today, and that so far nearly 4,000 have signed a petition to keep the community garden where it is.

Whalen Ventures has announced plans to convert Garden Station into 40 loft-style apartments with restaurants and retail space. There’s no timeline yet on the development, which has one activist pushing for at least a little more time.

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“They’re not going to be touching this land for years,” said Maggie Ottoson. “There’s no reason to kick Garden Station out.”

Over the summer, city Planner Tony Kroeger said he was asked to look at potential sites where something of an agricultural nature could be implemented. However, he did not confirm at the time it was connected to Garden Station.

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