ALBANY -- Expansion of the edible garden project in Memorial Park was approved March 17 by the City Council. The item was part of the council's consent calendar but was pulled for discussion so the council could express appreciation for the garden and confirm that the area is a drought-tolerant landscape.
The project, located behind the Albany Little League snack shack on the first base side of the baseball diamond, originally broke ground last year. The expansion extends one piece of the garden east to the edge of the park along Carmel Avenue.
A group known as Friends of Albany Parks Edible Garden is coordinated by members of the community sustainability group Transition Albany and volunteers cultivate and maintain the garden.
According to a report prepared by city staff, 65 volunteers have worked on the project, with work parties held on one or two weekend days each month to plant, harvest, water, perform small repairs and clean up litter.
The staff report called the area of the expansion, "a small, rough, wet lawn area that has no real practical usage and a long history of drainage issues." Design of the garden will be submitted to the Parks and Recreation Commission next month.
In other business, the council also approved a $536,000 contract with the Alameda County Transportation Commission for Phase III of the Buchanan Bikeway project. The funds will come from Measure B, an Alameda County half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2000.
The council also received an informational item concerning whether to have the city's Traffic and Safety Commission serve as the Bicycle Advisory Committee to the city for projects funded by the Transportation Development Act.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission requires cities to either form a Bicycle Advisory Committee or assign such jurisdiction to the Alameda County Transportation Commission's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The council will have to make a choice at some point in the future.