GREENWOOD, SC - Greenwood is the winner of the National YMCA’s Fresh Page Project. Greenwood Healthy Neighborhoods, entered the Veteran’s Affairs Healing Garden into the project on the YMCA of the USA’s facebook page in early April. The voting took place from April 18 – 30, and was done via facebook. The entry with the most “likes” would receive a $5000 grant to use for their project. Greenwood won and will use the grant to create a garden in the courtyard of the New Veteran's Affairs Building.
Toni Able of Greenwood Healthy Neighborhoods told GwdToday that she would like to thank everyone who cast their vote and helped to win the grant. "Great news - The Healing Garden will become a reality" said Able. “Thank you to all that ‘liked’ the idea.”
The Veteran’s Affairs Building was formerly occupied by the county library, and is being developed by the City into a Veteran’s Museum with office space for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), community rooms, and a resource center for veterans.
There are plans to transform the patio perimeter into a vegetable garden, removing existing overgrown vegetation, installing flowers, shrubs and trees, irrigation, bird houses, and removing graffiti. “We will completely revamp the courtyard into a serene garden with benches, herbs, flowers and flowering shrubs to create a place for meditation, conversation or reading” said Able.
Also involved in the project is Elyse Benson, USDA Natural Resources Outreach Specialist. “The courtyard already has great ‘bones’ with the brick walls, art deco railings and a huge Japanese maple in the center” said Benson. “Once the old stumps are removed we will have a blank canvas to develop. We will install some comfortable benches, feature a Veteran’s memorial plaque, and use native plants as much as possible.” Benson told GwdToday that the objective of the Healing Gardens project is to create a quite place for reading, resting and conversation.
The patio will be used for raising vegetables to serve the needs of local families, and according to Benson, volunteers will be an important part of developing the gardens. “We are especially pleased to be working with Cary Bolt of the Veterans Affairs Office, because he has such great vision for this facility,” said Benson “Because the new Veterans Affairs Center extends the Uptown experience for residents and visitors and it honors our Veterans and will offer them an array of services locally.”
GwdToday contacted Jan Walther, Senior Director, YMCA of the USA. “As the winning entry in the YMCA’s Fresh Page Project, the Veteran’s Affairs Healing Garden is a great example of how a simple and creative idea can go a long way to improving the community" said Walther. "The Y is committed to strengthening community, and the garden will provide a peaceful and beautiful place where members of the Greenwood community can relax and enjoy nature. The Y congratulates Toni Able for submitting the idea and the Greenwood YMCA and The Veteran’s Affairs Healing Garden for bringing the project to life.”