Letter: Save the South Laguna Community Garden 

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Last summer I moved back to south Laguna after many years away. I found out that I remember every street, every beach, every part of town. And remarkably, after 40 years, it’s mostly the same. That is something to take credit for, Laguna. You retained all of your charm. Sure, you lost the pier I fished on as a child, but that’s life.

The very best new thing without a doubt is the South Laguna Community Garden Park. I joined it right away, lacking a yard. The park allows anyone to grow crops and to meet others who do the same. It really does build community, as I have made new friends and in so doing I have discovered another essential truth about Laguna.

Laguna remembers its own. Laguna remembers the people who fought to preserve its charm and character. Laguna remembers its amazing citizens who found parks and mammal recovery centers and civic groups.

My mother lobbied hard with the South Laguna Civic Association to buy the land and build the first community park. Ann Christoph remembered her name, and showed me this picture, from 1977. I discovered that I was a part of Laguna’s history and fabric as well. She and I helped build the old macrame structure. That park is still beloved and much used today, its charming artistic gates the same.

As the City Council, you are even more a part of the history of Laguna than my stroke of luck, being in the photo. What will you do that will be remembered? I hope you will preserve the South Laguna Community Garden Park. It is on its own one of the great attractions of this beautiful town. It provides so much. It gives back fresh produce, large scale recycling and composting, and an educational garden facility that would be the envy of any elementary or middle school. That would be a positive legacy to leave, something to combat climate change and civic disconnection at the same time.

As I said, Laguna is much the same. And so is South Laguna, having escaped much commercial development. There are still large vacant lots at Catalina, Fifth, and I am sure several other intersections. The idea that this park should be scrapped for a commercial project to come seems quite shortsighted. Please, vote to keep it. Please, be remembered for preserving the charm, the beauty, the ecologically responsible and wholly South Lagunan thing that is this park.

Thank you so much,

Frances (Brandewie) Geoffrion, Laguna Beach

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