ROGERS PARK — Plots at the Peterson Garden Project's new community garden at Howard Street and Ashland Avenue have sold out — even though the vacant lot is still encased in ice and snow.
"This one filled up pretty fast," said the project's founder, LaManda Joy. "Everyone seems very excited."
Joy introduced plans in October for the 130-raised garden beds and accompanying community area. Many people welcomed the plans for the garden that would make use of a long-vacant, city-owned lot while the city shopped the former Lerner Newspapers site to potential developers.
Others, however, feared the garden and future high-density development would be a "gentrification bullet," pushing poor people away from Howard Street.
But Joy and Ald. Joe Moore (49th) say the new garden would be an "inclusive" space to help the community to grow.
"We can't solve all the problems of this neighborhood, nor is this project meant to do that," Joy said in October. "This project is meant to be a bright spot."
Thirty of the Howard Street plots had been set aside for scholarships, she said.
Registration for "memberships," as Joy calls it, to the garden began on February 19, she said.
Three of Peterson Garden Project's other gardens — in Edgewater, Andersonville and Albany Park — have also sold out.