Organic garden tours this month

The Cornucopia Network of New Jersey, dedicated to promoting local organic food, will sponsor two organic vegetable garden tours this spring, one on May 6 and the other on May 20. The first will include four gardens and the second nine.

This Saturday Virginia Cornue invites you to drop by 143 Claremont Ave. between 2 to 5 p.m. for a self-guided tour of her tiny front yard garden, some porch boxes, storage tubs planters, recycled trellises. This is a minimal second-year garden, starting from nothing in ground that had never been worked in 80 years or more.

My garden at 56 Gordonhurst Ave. will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. I raise almost all my family’s vegetables year round. With luck, you will see the Chinese cabbage from which I have harvested two meals a week all the past winter; it is going to seed now.

Alan Smith’s front-yard garden at 148 Forest St., will be open for a self-guided tour from 9 to 5 p.m. both days. Many of his plants are volunteers, but he buys tomato plants each year.

Montclair Community Pre-K Garden Project, 49 Orange Road, offers a self-guided tour to the public all day on weekends. The grounds can be entered through gates on either side of the main entrance to the Board of Education Building, 22 Valley Road. arking is permitted along the driveway to the right of the building. On May 6, 9-noon, the MCPK Garden Project will hold its annual Family Garden Day, where the entire school community comes together to prepare our gardens for spring. The day includes sports activities for children, a plant sale, many freebies of perennials, a performance by the MHS a cappella group The Passing Notes and plenty of garden work for all.

Pat Kenschaft


Remarks on the

Seymour Street redevelopment

The Seymour Street redevelopment is too massive, too ambitious, and too multi-purpose for the site on which it hopes to build. Multi-purpose meaning it seeks to be an apartment house with 200 apartments, a retail center, an office building, a multi-parking garage and an arts and entertainment venue. The site on which it plans to build is hilly, uneven and surrounded by older buildings. The decades-old retaining wall facing South Willow is covered with greenery and in some places has been reinforced with concrete. It should be examined for its structural stability because an older apartment building is situated on the land above the wall. The proposed new apartment building and parking deck will be built very close to the retaining walls and also to the other residences on South Willow and Seymour streets. The construction of both the large apartment building on the east side of Seymour and the seven-story parking structure on the west side of Seymour could undermine the nearby older buildings.

The proposed Seymour parking garage of five stories with an additional setback of two floors of offices has a red brick warehouse appearance. It does not have the positive features of the parking deck behind Church Street, in that it does not fit in with its surroundings in height, in color, in appearance and in landscaping. The new site is more challenging. The plan uses all of the available land so that the new construction will be very close to adjoining buildings.

The parking garage does not blend in with nearby older beige brick apartment buildings, nor does it enhance the planned Seymour Street Plaza, by depriving it of light. This parking deck is taller than the apartment building next to it. It will loom over the Seymour Street Plaza. It will be the view of the new apartments facing Seymour Street, and will have lights on all night. The northern part of Seymour Street will become a continuation to Bloomfield Avenue while the southern end of the street is ignored.

Seymour Street was declared an area in need of redevelopment. Will this large redevelopment really create an improved neighborhood? There will be more congestion with 200 to 400 more people in the area, and more traffic with several hundred more cars and large parking decks. With Seymour Street turned into a two-way dead end, there will be increased traffic on both South Willow and South Fullerton. Any cars going in or out of Seymour will have to use Roosevelt Place. A quiet residential area will need to adjust to increased traffic, noise, delays and other inconveniences in the pursuit of redevelopment for municipal improvement.

The next meeting addressing this plan is at the municipal Building, 205 Claremont Ave., on Monday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. Please consider attending.

Lucy Fitzgerald


Thanks to the Local

Kudos to the publishers/writers at Montclair Local for providing a fresh look at our town of Montclair.

As a local resident for 10+ years, here’s some things I notice in your newspaper:

· clever, crisp headlines that deliberately give readers your fine take on community lifestyle issues. Examples:  recent story about Inconvenience Store Shopping (the superb word “inconvenience” here says what us local residents feel about the need for a decent supermarket in Montclair Center); Making Progress? to describe the insightful story about an achievement gap in Montclair Public Schools.

· writing style — while Montclair Local writers tell us about select news items, I feel like they are talking “with” me (the reader) rather than “at” me with facts and information;

· thoughtful, easy-to-find calendar listings providing every reader with what’s going on and how to participate (many of us plan our in-town activities based on this).

· know your “customers” — keeping on top of the various needs/wants of Montclair’s readers and businesses.

Thank you all!

Wilma A. Hurwitz