By Paul Bolster
We don’t have a park in Ormewood Park, but we have greatly enjoyed the farm created by Brian Harrison, better known as Red, who recently passed away. It provided us pandemic walks through a grassy field and along a meandering stream. It’s a place for sledding when rare snow and ice comes. The gardeners there get a creative relationship with the dirt. The high tree swing is a destination for our kids of all ages. Red left us with an unfulfilled dream of open and natural space in the middle of Ormewood Park. The stream and the forest on its banks are protected by the City’s 75-foot setback from streams, but the future of the rest of it is unknown at this time. If there is an opportunity in the future, the Ormewood community will need to pull together to make this open space a permanent part of our neighborhood.
Red’s dad, Bill Harrison, is working hard on the real estate issues his son’s untimely death left behind. Bill, an elderly former engineer, has been sworn in as the manager of the estate. He has said he would like to help Red’s dream come true. He is looking at a lot of options but doesn’t “have any specifics to report right now,” he said. He knows he is not up to “running the farm.” On his behalf the Conservation Fund is approaching the City of Atlanta to see what resources might be available. His lawyer, who has a background in real estate preservation, is developing a process by which the family could receive proposals. He expects the RFP (Request for Proposal) will be available early this summer. He knows the family plans to keep Red’s home on Berne Street.
Harrison knows the community has a strong interest in what happens on this unique piece of land and greatly appreciates what his son was able to do with very little money. It will take some time to figure everything out. “It is hard to deal with the real estate issues when we are still mourning Red’s loss to the family,” he said.
Grace Kim has been helping friends and neighbors maintain the property while larger decisions are being made. On January 29, volunteers were invited to clip, cut, and mow. They had a similar work day last October. You can sign up to help on the Facebook page @urbanfarmormewood. Frank Yocalon has designed a logo, and others are working on a website. “People are really investing time, talent, and money to show the farm love,” said Grace. Neighbors interested in having a garden plot this spring should, contact Grace at email@example.com. The Easter egg hunt was Red’s favorite day and Grace is committed to making sure it happens.