The Robert M. Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden in Greenlawn on...

The Robert M. Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden in Greenlawn on Aug. 14, 2021. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

Huntington officials are using gravel to avoid turning its organic community garden in Greenlawn into a dust bowl.

As the Robert M. Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden celebrates its 50th anniversary, the town is spending $15,000 to spread pea gravel along the driveway and dirt road that lead to where a community of residents grow and harvest vegetables.

Currently, the driving areas are covered with recycled concrete aggregate, known as RCA. The material is composed of asphalt debris.

“Currently the RCA roadway in there is very dusty,” Town Board member Sal Ferro said. “It just creates a dust ball and we’ve gotten plenty of complaints from people gardening there.”

The garden was named after Kubecka, a former environmentalist with the town’s Department of Environmental Protection and a carting business owner. He was killed in an apparent mob hit in 1989 after working with the FBI about the influence of organized crime in the carting industry.

The town is using funds from the Open Space and Land and Park Improvements Reserve Fund. The Huntington Town Board unanimously approved the funding last month.

The town purchased the 15-acre site in 1971 at the intersection of Dunlop and Greenlawn roads, which was previously owned by the Hazeltine Corp. 

Residents can rent a plot to cultivate for $25 for the season.

Tara Sammis, who has had a plot in the Kubecka garden for four years, said the new driveway will be a welcome feature.

“It’s going to cut down on the dust and dirt and make it easier pulling in and out,” she said. 

Town Supervisor Ed Smyth said in an email that volunteers helped clear overgrowth in the spring from abandoned plots, opening up space for new gardeners.

“There's been renewed interest in Kubecka in this 50th anniversary year — a gardening community of all ages and skill levels,” he said. 

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