Controversy intensifies as Garden Station eviction looms 


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Controversy intensifies as Garden Station eviction looms 

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Garden Station Facebook
Garden Station is an art park and community garden in downtown Dayton.
  • Story Highlights
  • The city plans to evict Garden Station Oct. 31 to make way for new development
  • A group of citizens is trying to save the Oregon District park
  • About 4,000 people signed a petition preserving Garden Station

The future of Garden Station appears destined to be hit by a bulldozer.

That has not stopped a group of area residents from trying to save it.  


The community park that opened eight years ago at 509 E. 4th St. is set to be evicted  Oct. 31 to make way for new development
The city maintains that the garden was a pilot program that was always meant to be temporary, and it has offered to help Garden Station find and move to a new home, but Garden Station organizers have  not cooperated. 

The site has long been targeted for redevelopment. 

The property is across the road from 210 Wayne Avenue, which a Kentucky developer plans to turn into loft-style housing and restaurant space. 

>> MORE: When does Troll Pub plan to start building in the Oregon District?

It is part of a larger $30 million mixed-use development plan that will be called Oregon East and will be a lifestyle and entertainment district.

Garden Station supporters maintain that it benefits Dayton and should be saved.

I asked Dayton area residents their thoughts on Garden Station and got dozens of passionate responses on Facebook. A select few are below, and you can view the post for more

They signed a lease clearly indicating temporary possession until development occurred. There were not supposed to be structures placed on the property. 


The city also offered to assist in moving the garden and were rebuffed. 


This is sour grapes... people apparently thought the city would never be able to develop the property.

— Matthew M. Leclaire

The destruction of Garden Station will lead to gentrification in the Oregon District and South Park and like so many other neighborhoods that have been developed by private corporate developers, what makes Oregon District special will be priced out of existence and you can look forward [to] the suburbanization of the area. Look forward to the crap they plopped down on UD Brown Street to be a part of the neighborhood because it'll no longer be the Oregon District.

— Mathias Detamore

It was a wonderful coming together of community based on temporary occupancy. Time to create Garden Station 2.0 in a new place. If all the supporters threw in $20 they could buy a piece of land and make the next one permanent.

— Lisa Grigsby

The city sold out space to some out of town rich folks, so uber-white trust fund kids and hipsters could "slum it" downtown. Total BS, but also the sorta thing I've come to expect from "Baby Detroit."

— Juan Blanco-Alhazred

Garden Station's identity is the community that built it. You can copy it elsewhere, but the people who make that happen will be creating their own space, not recreating Garden Station. And I think there should be more efforts like this in neighborhoods all over the city. But when the city doesn't want to give it to the community that built it (and the city is giving it away), that discourages people from investing the time and effort to create their own beautiful corner. Not too many people can buy an extra lot for the neighborhood.

— Mary Sue Gmeiner

Not trying to be a total downer on this because I love the idea behind it and what it represents. BUT, I do believe it to be a bit of an eyesore. It's getting better. I'm guessing none of the structures built on the land have permits to do so. If someone were to be injured on the property, who is held responsible? The city? The taxpayers? The people who built it? Just a few things I'd like to know. Again, I love the idea behind it, just not the execution of that idea.

— Mark Brewer

I know it doesn't change how bad it sucks to lose this space and waste all the effort the wonderful people of our community put into it, but I'd certainly donate $20 to build Garden Station 2.0. I'm sure a lot of folks around here would.

— Katie Mervar

 I think it sucks that the community came together with so much time and energy to create this awesome green, artistic space out of something that was once an ugly eye sore in the city and the city's reaction is to throw a new development in the space. There are so many other places this development could go to help our city grow. Put your development someplace else.

— Liz ThRilling

As one of the people who helped found Garden Station, I will admit to being torn on the subject -- the original intent when we started was to draw attention to underused and neglected properties -- and now that it will be developed, it appears that we succeeded in drawing the attention. I also recognize that we only ever had a temporary lease and that was our agreement and the only way the city agreed to let us use the land -- so I have always viewed our time on that property as temporary -- and if you study city plans, it has always been their desire to develop the Oregon District further to the east -- it is the only direction it can grow -- so that is no surprise either. 


That said, when we started I don't think anyone had any idea what it would become -- not us, not the city -- or how successful it would be. Proving both the need and desire to have spaces like this in the city. And that was pretty amazing to watch grow. 


But here is the thing -- for me Garden Station has always been more of a Community than a physical location -- and that is what is being traded and trampled on in these discussions. Yes there are physical things that couldn't be moved to a new location, but you know it isn't that hard to build a new handicap ramp or many of the other pieces of infrastructure -- some art might be lost, but new art will be created -- it happens all the time -- and if it means getting a permanent home with support from the city -- I think it could be a worthwhile trade, because I think maintaining and growing the community that has built up because of Garden Station is more important than the physical location....

I think it can be moved elsewhere on one of many vacant lots where the philosophy of growing your own will be appreciated and nurtured. Everything can be permanent once property is owned by Garden Station. I feel it's a bit of an eyesore -- Kinder Garden, I call it -- done lovingly I will admit."

— Cathy Mong

I know it really stinks for all of that hard work to be destroyed and to have to start over, but if it is imminent, I think buying property is a smart suggestion. How about having a fundraising event at Garden Station during Haunt Fest night when thousands of people are downtown. Even if people stopped by and donated $5-10, it's a cumulative effort. The 4k people who signed the petition I'm sure would donate something if they have the ability, even with $1 per person you would have 4k from those supporters. Just a thought. What is the price range of such empty lots?

— Karen Bledsoe

Garden Station, the thousands of volunteer hours, the concrete murals some many years old, the location -- its biggest advantage, CANNOT BE MOVED. All that would be possible there is a parking lot. This isn't Brooklyn, people aren't going to live by the railroad tracks in Dayton. The land has already been developed. The convenience of its location is what draws so many people and works for so many people, we want the walking culture of a bustling downtown. To move it out of downtown proper would be to kill the entire reason we have it!! To provide an urban growing environment for those who live downtown and therefore do not have the space. 


Registered voters find tilling soil and celebrating urban gardening together therapeutic. They are taking away the soil therapy that those of us who live in Dayton city proper need! All for what? A chain restaurant? A pub that keeps all ages from being able to utilize the space? We will NOT support outside owned businesses or real estate. I patronize only Ohio owned businesses and rent from only Ohio owners. 


To move forward with corporate development of this land is to turn many thousands (at least 4,000) people, and everyone we talk to with vehemence, away from whatever else you develop in this town.

— Jess Fecke

What do you think about the situation? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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