Urban farm dedicated within former firehouse

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and neighborhood leaders dedicated the Renaissance Pointe Urban Farm at 2518 Winter St. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The city’s latest urban garden was dedicated Tuesday.

Renaissance Pointe Urban Farm was developed at 2518 Winter St. in the lot where the former fire station No. 9 stood decades ago. Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and neighborhood leaders gathered to introduce the garden.

“The City and the private sector have invested millions of dollars in new and rehabilitated housing, streets, sidewalks and trails in this area,” said Henry. “The Renaissance Pointe Urban Farm is another piece of our work to revitalize the neighborhood and empower residents to live healthy lives.”

The urban farm includes three-quarters of an acre for community farming, with planters boxes erected.

The $430,000 project – funded with federal Community Development Block Grant dollars – also included the complete rehabilitation of the old fire station, which was closed in the 1950s because it was too small to fit modern fire trucks. A new heating and ventilation system was installed, its windows were refurbished and a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen was installed along with custom-made and era-specific carriage doors.

A new alley and sidewalks were also laid. A plaque recognizing neighborhood advocate Johnnie Mae White’s service to the neighborhood and commitment to helping others will be installed on the building.

City officials said the urban farm will be a true community benefit.

“The Renaissance Pointe Urban Farm will serve as a neighborhood resource for learning how to grow and cook fresh and healthy foods,” said Heather Presley-Cowen, director of OHNS. “It will encourage residents to lead healthier lives, as well as serve as a pilot site for future community urban farms.”

The location of the urban farm was chosen because it sits within a “food desert,” city officials said, which is an area away from ready access to fresh produce.

The Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services is leasing the farm to Growing Minds Educational Services to provide programming at the farm including offerings like a neighborhood monthly meal, gardening classes, healthy eating and diabetes prevention seminars, cooking classes and farmers markets, city officials said.

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