The creation of a controversial community garden in Kingsport Park was pushed back a year by the Annapolis City Council on Monday night.
Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson (D-Ward 4) said she proposed delaying the project after meeting with the Kingsport Community Association.
"I’m going to invite two residents from each of the surrounding communities and they will come together over the next year to help design what this park will look like ... so that the community will have more input," Finlayson said.
At the council's May meeting, two Kingsport residents urged the council to delay the project.
"This item—there's a lot of misinformation out there," Margaret Kai-Zeigler said at May's meeting. "The misinformation has caused a real schism in my neighborhood. I have neighbors who won't talk to each other because of this."
Mayor Josh Cohen said he's received a lot of angry emails about the issues, and he found the divisiveness troubling.
"I think the spirit behind this park and the proposed community garden is to bring the community together," Cohen said. "I think this approach that you set forth will go a long way toward building consensus."
"Our concern all along is that the communities are involved in the conversation," Bunker said.
He said he hopes this change will correct a lot of what he called "misconceptions" that this project was developed behind closed doors with the city of Annapolis.
"The irony is that the compromise was behind closed doors at an HOA meeting in Kingsport," Bunker said. "There are 172 families living in Kingsport. They're residents; their voices are important, but there 308 families living in Bywater Mutual. They were never brought into the conversation."
Finlayson's proposal also delayed the application by the Kingsport community for a $146,000 grant for the garden project from the Department of Natural Resources until next year. The alderwoman said this was due in large part to the absence of a recreation and parks director.