2017-07-13 / Living

Community members come together to beautify garden

810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — A community effort was made to help beautify the garden of Water Tower Park recently.

“Our workforce is going down,” said Genesee County Commissioner Ellen Ellenburg, who helped organize the project. “Instead of complaining about a problem, be part of the solution. I drove by the park every day. It was a flat piece of land.”

Ellenburg got permission from Bette Bigsby, Burton Parks and Recreation director, and Mayor Paula Zelenko and then contacted Burton City Council candidate Trevor Rodgers through his aunt, Georgena Stagman. Both Ellenburg and Rodgers gathered friends and relatives to participate, and Ellenburg said she would like to involve more students.

“I think if we approach students nearer to the beginning of the year, they can take ownership of this project,” Ellenburg said. “When kids do a project, I feel they are proud of it.”

Her 14-year-old granddaughter, Justice Ellenburg, helped with the project. Justice Ellenburg will be a freshman at Bendle High School this year. Joe Johnson, 15, who attends Grand Blanc High School, also helped.

“They had fun,” Ellenburg said. “They got to see what it looked like before. Then, stepped back and looked at it afterwards. They were really pleased. Altogether there were about 12-14 people who helped. Trevor was a good help in organizing the donations.”

Allied Rent-All on Dort Highway donated an Ditch Witch auger to loosen the dirt. The unit had a scoop bucket. Ellenburg said they couldn’t have done the job without the equipment.

“I had dealt with Allied Rent-All for my wedding reception, and knew who to talk to,” Rodgers said.

Fick Excavating donated two yards of top soil, valued at over $100. Republic Waste donated a 30-yard dumpster, which they also delivered and picked up. Walker Farms donated about $300 worth of perennials.

Lt. Jeremy Scharrer, of the Burton Fire Department, gave the volunteers access to the fire station to use the restroom, and was a laborer as well, even after working all night the night before.

Alysia Navarro and David Chrisler helped to manually tear up and shovel about 10 inches of hard soil and asphalt, and provided suggestions on what would look best and what would enhance the garden as plants mature.

“Shoveling was a chore,” Ellenburg said. “Joe dug all the post holes by himself, which had to be about four feet deep.”

“It was very dusty and we were constantly hitting objects that were in there, including asphalt, pieces of metal and rocks,” Rodgers said.

Navarro suggested using woodchips.

“The woodchips made everything pop,” Ellenburg said.

The team said the garden looked beautiful afterwards, and they are looking into what they can do at the park next. There are plans for Victoria Ervin to create a mural behind the garden.

“The garden needed to be preserved,” Ellenburg said. “It needed to be the star of the park.”

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