Construction begins today on Long Beach’s first entirely ADA-accessible community garden, The Children’s Gateway Garden, at Cesar Chavez Park, with volunteers asked to visit this weekend to help build and plant.

The $45K Gateway Garden, largely the dream of Willmore City Heritage Association President Kathleen Irvine with funds privately raised, will provide 4,800 sq. ft. of space along the Los Angeles River.

“The demolition, concrete paths and seating area will be finished by the end of the week,” Irvine said. “We are nearly finished with building the components of the raised and wheelchair accessible beds and will then be ready for our call to volunteer.”

Irvine’s vision will come to life with nine, 30-inch high vegetable and fruit beds set amongst solid 6ft wide pathways. The design ultimately avoids low-lying beds and unstable pathways such as those made with mulch or sand that are able-bodied accessible only.

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“Too often, I realized that most community gardens are very exclusive,” Irvine said. “I think there’s a truer definition to ‘community garden’… And that means catering to everyone because the importance maintaing a relationship with nature in the city is becoming paramount.”

This Saturday, followed by Saturday, November 16, volunteers are asked to set aside time to help finish the final stages of the garden. Volunteers are being asked to move and compact decomposed granite, mix native soil with the amendments, fill the raised beds, plant the fruit trees and mulch the beds.

“Even if you don’t wish to volunteer, we encourage everyone to stop by and visit the site,” Irvine said. “It’s truly a beautiful thing to see how people come together to make Long Beach better.”

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony will occur next spring.

Those wishing to help on The Children’s Gateway Garden are asked to attend Saturday, November 2 and Saturday November 16, from 10AM to 1PM at Cesar Chavez Park, located at 401 Golden Avenue.

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