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Heritage Garden - A Community Garden Apr 30, 2013

THE ESCONDIDO MAGAZINE

WRITTEN BY HEATHER PETREK

At the corner of Juniper and Grand stands an empty lot- the focus of a new, upcoming beautification project where the community of Escondido can celebrate the heritage of the city.  The site of a former gas station, the lot has been purchased by the city and a team of visionaries plan to transform it into Escondido Heritage Garden.  George Weir of George W. Weir Asphalt Construction, Inc., and Kevin Grangetto, owner of Grangetto's Farm and Garden Supply have combined their ideas, and have enlisted the help of Mike Peltz, a local landscape architect.  The plan is to make the plot of land at Juniper and Grand a garden, a place that symbolizes Escondido, a place designed especially for the community where families can enjoy all the elements the team is busily mapping out.

As a part of the conceptual plan, Weir, Grangetto and Peltz are envisioning both an agricultural aspect, and a civic aspect.  In a presentation he gave to the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in February, Peltz said, "We want to celebrate the avocados and the citrus groves that are a featured characteristic of Escondido's climate.  Due to contamination issues with the land, we won't plant trees directly into the ground, but will display them in planters."  Many venders are contributing to the project, including RCP Block and Brick, donating planter blocks and pavers; J&W Redwood, donating planter boxes and material to build trellises; and Steven Smith Landscape, shaping the landscape mounds, installing irrigation and planting trees.  George Weir has provided the labor and equipment to clear the site, as well as the mixed soil that is used in planter beds.  Visitors will be able to walk through the area to appreciate the plants.  Peltz also mentioned the idea of having local schools involved, displaying the names of the schools on certain planters and pots.

"Our vision is to marry the agricultural side of Escondido to the civic side," Peltz continued.  "We are planning a circular lawn that winds upward about two feet, and at the top will be an iconic piece of architecture."  Peltz also described a gazebo, possibly patterned after the dome at City Hall, that could be a place of destination, where live musical bands might perform, maybe the winning cars from Cruisin' Grand might be celebrated, and possibly a staging area where outstanding riders in the Amgen Tour of California will be recognized. 

According to Peltz, there will be three access points for parking: one off Juniper, and a back parking lot.  All of them will possibly be covered by trellises.  There will be a sign, donated by Brian Murphy of American Furniture Design Co., to communicate to visitors what the garden is all about, and a bike rack where bicycle riders can stop and rest.

"The Escondido Heritage Garden will be something active and attractive.  I'm impressed by the coming together of the community which signifies the spirit of Escondido," says Peltz.  George Weir added, "We hope to get the elements of a stage/platform area completed in time for the bike tour.  Our goal is to make it a family friendly park.  We are very excited about it."


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