Flagler Garden Broke Ground Sunday; Set to Grow Downtown Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale's Flagler Garden officially broke ground Sunday with a celebratory ceremony drawing a packed crowd. Construction is set to begin in October, and the project is slated for completion through phase two with a 60-day turnaround, says Rebecca Bradley.

Phase one and two will include constructing the 80 raised bed plots, a contemporary-inspired entry portal, irrigation systems, customized storage containers, deck space, and an educational facility.

"We developed a beautiful, contemporary design for the gateway fence and entry portal with the goal to create a special experience as people enter the garden," says Bradley of the proposed statement piece, which is intended to be visible to nearby traffic along busy Third Avenue. She's cofounder of urban design and landscape architecture firm Cadence.

The garden project, a two-year plan in the making, has received tremendous support from the community. The City's Community Redevelopment Agency commissioner, Dean Trantalis, gathered a donation of nearly $30,000 for the project. Whole Foods is giving $76,000 to support construction of the educational facility and the forthcoming sustainability workshops. And a slew of founding members has already secured garden plots. Founding members have given a minimum of $500 to the project. Membership to the public is still under way.

The urban garden organizers aim to grow downtown through a multifaceted vision.

"We want to bring the community together and create a sense of place for the neighbors," says board member Kate Sheffield. "Also, we want to teach people about sustainability, healthy eating, and provide the community a locally grown organic food source."

In addition to promoting green living initiatives, Flagler Garden is meant to anchor the fast-growing neighborhood of Flagler Village. High-rise residential buildings are taking over as the area is being built up. The garden's president, Chad Scott, sees Flagler Garden as the neighborhood's "fire starter" and "one component of what's to come to the community."

Development for phase three is still to be determined. Stick with Clean Plate Charlie for updates.

Flagler Garden is located at 441 NE Third Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Visit flaglergarden.org .

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