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L.A. To Raise Community Garden Fees 500%

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Wattles Farm (Photo by Lisa Brenner / LAist)

Wattles Farm (Photo by Lisa Brenner / LAist)
The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks now has to pay for its water supplies and utilities and that means rapidly growing fees for local facilities like the Sepulveda Garden Center, a 20-acre, 800-plot, Magnolia Boulevard community garden.

The largest of nine community gardens operated by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Sepulveda Garden Center, "supplies garden hoses, hand tools, wheelbarrows and soil amendments, and waters the plants once a week. At only $25 annually per plot, it is certainly an affordable gardening option for many residents," according to Encino Patch.

However, the Department of Recreation and Parks has reviewed the fee schedule and is recommending change in an effort to increase revenue and recover department costs. "'The Rec and Parks Board of Commissioners, based on staff recommendations, decided to increase the annual fee from $25 to $120,' said Jeffrey Ebenstein, field deputy for Councilman Paul Koretz. 'Folks feel that that was too excessive.' The new fee would represent an increase of nearly 500 percent," reports Encino Patch

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Following a 25 percent cut in general funding for parks over the past three years, an increased demand for facilities, and the expense of water supplies and other utilities, the department believes these increases -- and other proposed measures like increased fees for dog shows and obedience classes at the Sepulveda Off-Leash Dog Park, and facility use fees at Lake Balboa and Woodley Park -- could generate additional revenue of approximately $2 million.

A community meeting run by Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Acting Superintendent Ramon Barajas (or Superintendent Kevin Regan) to discuss the increases is set for 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2010 at the Sepulveda Garden Center.