Volunteers plow forward for Anniston museum’s new Longleaf Botanical Gardens
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Mar 10, 2013 | 4716 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers from the Rotary Club and the Anniston Museum of Natural History do their part Saturday to help the Longleaf Botanical Gardens take shape. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
Volunteers from the Rotary Club and the Anniston Museum of Natural History do their part Saturday to help the Longleaf Botanical Gardens take shape. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
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Where the pool and tennis courts of the old Lenlock Community Center once stood, Weaver Boy Scout and Anniston Rotary Club volunteers on Saturday shoveled, plowed and built what will be the first raised garden beds for the new Longleaf Botanical Gardens. The Rotary Club adopted the gardens as its 2013 service project, and Cheryl Bragg, executive director of the Anniston Museum of Natural History, said it raised more than $25,000 for the first phase of the gardens which included equipment and materials.

“I think they’ll take a sense of pride in this,” Bragg said about Saturday’s effort. “When they look at what this will be in a few years, it’s important to our city and our community.”

Bragg said since the Anniston City Council approved the creation of the gardens in 2010, the project has lagged as the museum has worked out blueprints and tried to find money and volunteer help. The total cost of the project and when it’ll see completion is still unknown.

More than 70 volunteers showed up to help out on Saturday, working from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in alternating shifts. Joe Webster, the Rotary Club’s project coordinator, said the club first started making preparations for Saturday close to six months ago. It was the goal Saturday to have a back row of raised beds completely done by the time they left, and by 10 a.m., about the time the first shift of workers was gearing down, they were well ahead of schedule.

“They’re getting ahead of me,” Webster said, in between directing volunteers. “I think we’re going to just about get done what we need to get done.”

Webster said coordinating large groups who don’t always have the most experience with these types of landscaping projects can be a challenge, but said cooperation hadn’t been a problem.

George Carruth, the Rotary Club president, said the project was an easy choice for the club.

“It’s a beautiful day, and people are getting working, and getting outside,” he said while taking a pause from digging up dirt.

Of course, getting ouside is what the gardens will be all about once completed, Bragg said.

“We’re making this area a destination,” Bragg said. “We have the museums, and now the gardens, we hope people stay longer because this is a culture center.”

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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