Rotarians complete Children’s Garden at library

MADISON – Months of volunteer work by Rotary Club of Madison members have led to completion of the Children’s Garden at Madison Public Library at 142 Plaza Blvd.

On May 21, the public is welcomed for a ribbon cutting to commemorate the comprehensive project to install and build features for the garden. Library staff will present a special storytime at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony for the garden will start at 10 a.m., followed by a reception.

The original Children’s Garden at the library’s former location was a popular attraction for boys, girls and their parents.

By summer of 2018, the Rotary Club had chosen the Children’s Garden as its first “signature project,” which would involve a larger investment of time and money than previous commitments, Rotarian garden project lead Sandy Patel said.

“We were looking for (the end result) to be permanent, sustainable, at reasonable cost and a community project within the City of Madison,” Patel said. Debbie Overcash led Rotary’s committee to define the venture. The club considered six proposals for the project.

“Our board selected the Children’s Garden, and we broke ground in July last year,” Patel said. “We tried to create opportunities for club members to serve. If Rotarian manpower could do the work, we did it.”

The project’s price tag was approximately $50,000, including in-kind contributions. Turner Construction donated an estimated $9,000 in-kind contribution of concrete. Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, a Rotarian, donated $10,000 to the city for the library.

Volunteers also helped, like Madison Arts Council that assisted by painting koi fish in a fake pond. Mary Beth Broeren with city planning, Rotarian garden construction lead Don Faint, Rotarian garden landscaping lead Kaylin Deal and Sledge were involved heavily as work proceeded.

By August 2018, Rotarians were shoveling dirt to level and prepare the grounds. They joined with Sarah Sledge to paint and stencil a set of paver stones with famous quotes for youth.

Club publicist Carla Daily said one of their favorite quotes is from ‘The Minpins’ by Roald Dahl: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” 

Their next tasks involved planting trees and installing an irrigation system. Two weeks later, they laid new sod and built five large garden boxes.

In their “Done-in-a-Day Projects,” Rotarians relocated benches from the old library, painted a hopscotch panel on the sidewalk, filled planter boxes with dirt, refurbished a storage building and placed stepping stones alongside planter boxes.

In April 2019, club members finished the last details for grass and shrubs, along with interactive and educational components. For Rotary, the garden has served as both a capital and a service project.

“The total value of the project is estimated at $50,000. We used funds raised with our Parrots of the Caribbean fundraiser. Thanks to all the Parrotheads who have helped make this possible,” Daily said.

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