SAVE THE APPLE ORCHARDS!
New Apple Orchards in
Palmer Park in danger
As a result of complaints by some of the neighbors who live close to the new orchards, and much misinformation, City Council passed a resolution on May 29, 2012, urging Mayor Bing to remove the recently planted apple orchards in Palmer Park. Some 900 trees have been donated to People for Palmer Park, as part of People for Palmer Park’s Master Plan to restore, re-invent, and improve the park and to make it self-sustaining. The non-profit organization was given support and permission for planting the trees from the city and is a partner with the city for the revitalization of the park.
Over the past year, the park has been transformed in many ways due to the work of People for Palmer Park: cleaning trails, organizing family events, bike rides and hayrides through the forest, cleaning garbage and debris, saving trees and removing invasive species and much more.
Please read People for Palmer Park’s response to the city, below. We address the concerns about rats, maintenance, and many other fears expressed by neighbors. As far as watering, no fire hydrants will be used. Rain barrels collect water, and we will also use other outside sources of water to keep the trees healthy. No toxic substances will be used on the ground or sprayed on the trees. The trees are being raised in well-established organic methods, following Dr. Rudolph Steiner’s Bio-Dynamic approach (read more). This is a worldwide organic farming system, of which 90% of all farms in Australia are in use/compliance.
Our neighborhoods and community are greatly enhanced with a treasure like Palmer Park right at our doorstep for recreation and as a nature reserve that is loved and well-maintained. In response to the city’s threat to close the park in 2010, residents who love the park, live near the park, and have hope for the park’s revitalization joined together to create People for Palmer Park.
to remove and relocate the orchards.
We need your help to save the orchards, now!
Please email City Council and Mayor Bing asap and voice your support for the Orchard and People for Palmer Park
Here is People from Palmer Park’s response to City Council and Mayor Bing:
FROM: Rochelle E. Lento, President of People for Palmer Park
RE: People for Palmer Park Organization and Apple Orchards
DATE: May 29, 2012
In response to the actions taken on May 29, 2012 by the Detroit City Council in approving a resolution “Urging the Bing Administration to Facilitate the Removal and Relocation of Fruit Orchards Planted by the People for Palmer Park, we offer the following information, factual background and statement. First and foremost, despite the fact that we understand that there have previously been discussions and/or hearing on this matter, we were never advised or given any opportunity to respond or explain the actions of our organization. If given that opportunity, we would have been most willing to provide some background to assist the City Council with its deliberations on this issue prior to this resolution being adopted. Nonetheless, here is information and our response:
History and Background Information
People for Palmer Park (“PFPP”) grew out of strong neighborhood concern for the viability of Palmer Park (“the Park”), which was in part inspired by the City’s announcement in 2009 that it planned to close the Park. Led by enthusiastic tennis players, a grassroots movement of residents and neighbors from all surrounding communities began meeting and organizing. Many of those early organizers remain active with the PFPP.
- Cleared miles of impassable trails in the Park
- Sponsored regular monthly (in season) Park clean-ups
- Sponsored weekly bike rides and walks in the Park
- Established a garden club to plant flowers and plants at entryways
- Sponsored an architectural Walking Tour of the Park and surrounding historic apartment buildings in Palmer Park (180 people in attendance)
- Sponsored a Harvest Fest, Children Storytime & Holiday Caroling Event in 2011
- Sponsored a Winter Fest in February 2012 inclusive of children’s activities (sleigh rides), a doggie fashion show and more (250 people in attendance)
- Developed a natural compost area for neighborhood gardeners
- Winterized, secured historic log cabin (removed all animal debris/cleaned interior). Planning Log Cabin Day fundraiser in June 2012
- Facilitated the removal and trimming of dead or invasive species in the Park
- Supported the City’s annual fishing derby at the Park
- Participated and supported the City’s development of an architectural marker at the entrance of the Park at Woodward and Six Mile
- Raised $8000. to build or repair a new playscape in the Park (2012 discussions with KaBoom organization about potential partnership to build a new playscape)
- Sponsored a neighborhood plant sale – May 2012
- Planted an apple orchard with volunteers – May 2012
- Outdoor free Yoga classes in the Park to commence every Saturday in June 2012
- Established a USTA approved tennis program for children 10 and under- June 2012
- Developed a website to inform the community of all activities
PFPP has developed a close partnership with the City of Detroit Recreation Dept. and the General Services Division and all of our activities have been done in full concert and communication with City representatives. We began our meetings with the City Recreation and GSD in the summer of 2011. We have presented a 25-Year Master Plan, which includes both a diagram plan as well as the specifications for the planned improvements, for their consideration and approval. Over the past year, we have no less than six meetings with City representatives including Alicia Minter, Brad Dick, Tim Karle, Craig Bristow (retired), Karen Petola (retired), Scott Brinkman, Trina Tucker and Ron Brundidge.In September 2011, five copies of the 25-Year Master Plan, Site Maps and Construction Forecast were delivered to Ms. Minter. In addition, minutes and attendee lists from the two community charettes were provided.
“Trim, prune, uplift, remove diseased, non native or soft wood invaders, per each orchard section, disk, harrow, plant fruit trees and install no mow native turf.” This section calls further for the planting of 1124 fruit trees.
First a few facts abut the orchard. All 600-700 trees were donated to the People for Palmer Park. All labor to prepare, till, plant and fertilize the trees was voluntary. The PFPP intends to pay for and engage a watering truck to assure viability of the trees. We also intend to sponsor an apple harvest event to pick all the apples when ready.
“The purpose of this orchard is to help pay for the cost to maintain and improve the Park specifically along the guidelines that have been spelled out in the 25 Year Master Plan & Construction Forecast, which should also be posted on the PfPP web site.The Apples will be a part of the Mounted Police Horses diet, (apart from oats and hay they can only eat carrots and apples). They will benefit from organic food, while helping to save feed/food cost so that more horses can be added to the team/patrol. The once lawn area directly under the apples will be converted into a native low non flowering meadow grass mix that will have a height of 6-10″ only. The area will never need to be mowed again. This will save on fossil fuel consumption and save the trees from being scarred by an errant mower deck.The maintenance and upkeep will be minimal. Select pruning in spring to shape and maintain good health and airflow and then 1-2 day visits when the apples are right and ready for harvest. The rows have been perfectly spaced 18′ on center which at maturation will provide a service alley 9′ wide to drive up and down with the tractor, making the harvest via hay wagon as easy as reaching out and loading up. Harvest looks to be 4-6 weeks only.The surplus will be for donation/sale at Farm Direct prices, Honey crisps 320% less than at the local store, organic fresh from the vine with all donations being paid to PFPP, to be used for the Park Construction forecast.The trees will bear fruit this year as they are already 3-5 years old. Yields will be relatively low and should start to come in late Summer/Early fall. Historical Courtyards and Garden interns will be out to pick up every single apple available as that is what we are there for.”
We would also remind the City Council of some relevant history. From our historic records, we have learned that the Palmer family maintained an orchard in the park. We believe we are returning the park to its natural historic use.
Last but not least, there is no empirical evidence that has been presented to support the accusation that the orchard will contribute to mice or rodents. While this has been a stated fear or concern of some neighbors, we have not seen any study or research provided to the City Council or to our organization to support this claim.
PFPP planted the orchard, intends to maintain it, and will assure the community will only benefit from this improvement to the Park.