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Auburn Permaculture Park

Pete Cramer checks on a young cherry tree at the Auburn Permaculture Park. A $70,000 living willow structure will be coming to the park next spring. 

The city of Auburn announced Wednesday that it will host two public meetings in advance of the installation of a living willow structure at the Auburn Permaculture Park this spring.

Willow artist Bonnie Gale is working with the city and the park's personnel to design and install the structure, which will serve as both art and possibly a seating area at the park. Living willow structures use the fast growth rate and flexibility of willow branches to take forms like chairs, domes and archways. Gale was selected to design and install the structure after a bid process in the summer. 

The meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at Melone Village Community Center, 7 Merriman St., and at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at Seymour Library, 176-178 Genesee St., both in Auburn. The meetings are part of a community participation process that also includes local schools and community groups. That participation will culminate in Gale's final design of the living willow structure, the city said in a news release. The public is also welcome to participate in the installation of the structure in the spring and summer.

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The structure will cost about $70,000, and is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program. 

After Gale and the community install the living willow structure in the Auburn Permaculture Park, volunteers will be responsible for maintaining the structure through regular trimming. The city has said the living willow will be a focal point of community interaction at the edible food forest, which is located in Miles-Lepak Park on Garrow Street.

For more information on the structure or the upcoming community meetings, call the City of Auburn Office of Planning and Economic Development at (315) 253-3513 or email Senior Planner Renée Jensen at rjensen@auburnny.gov.

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