At next Tuesday’s Council worksesion, the City Council will discuss a proposed Calvert Hills community garden at the WMATA property, which sits just inside the City’s southern boundary, near the corner of Albion Road and Rhode Island Ave.

The area is located just south of where the Metrorail Green Line enters an underground tunnel. It is relatively open and gently sloping, but is enclosed by existing trees and vegetation. Access would be through the Trolley Trail right of way and a path that would need to be created from the trail to the garden.

This would always be a walk-in (or bike-in) garden as there is extremely limited parking on Albion Road and Rhode Island Avenue in that vicinity. Due to the long distance from the nearest water main or fire hydrant, this location is unlikely to be able to provide users with a convenient water supply.

Gardeners must be willing to provide their own water and transport it from Albion on foot. As part of the Cafritz development, the Trolley Trail will be graded and paved. Staff has requested the timetable for this work from the developer. Staff thinks construction and delivery of materials to the site will be challenging.

In addition, WMATA authorization for occasional access by small trucks onto the property to deliver supplies to the garden area is needed, as well as the ability to build a pathway from the Trolley Trail to the garden. Currently, construction activity of the stormwater facility and townhomes at the adjoining Cafritz property is generating significant dust that is incompatible with gardening.

License Terms WMATA has offered a no cost, four-year License term to the City. The use authorized by the License is to perform “Garden Work”, which is defined as the installation and maintenance of Licensee’s community garden. It is not clear whether this includes a fence.

WMATA has reserved the right to terminate the License during the fall or winter (outside of normal gardening season) with 60 days notice. At termination, the City would be required to remove all garden supplies from the property. The City would be required to maintain certain insurance levels and name WMATA as an additional insured on the City’s policy.

The License may prevent building a pathway to the garden. Amendments to the proposed License Agreement should be negotiated to clearly allow access for the initial construction, installation of a fence, occasional access by small trucks to deliver supplies. Based on prior experience, staff thinks negotiation of these revisions may require several months to be approved by WMATA.

Construction would likely require an additional allocation to the City’s Sustainability Initiatives CIP fund, with a total of $4,000. The Council will discuss whether to authorize staff to pursue an agreement with WMATA for the garden, but defer implementation at this time.