Historic Park Restoration/Renovation

spreadingvine(z5 MI)July 1, 2004

Hi Group,

My first posting on this subject was to the "Wildflowers and Native Plants" Forum--someone there suggested I post on this Forum. I just finished reading "Where are the history folk?" And, yes, this is the place I need to be.

I just joined the newly formed volunteer "Community Garden Club". Our project is to restore/renovate an old, historical, public park in the Fenton, z5 MI area. "Freedom Park" for any of you who might be familiar with the area. The park was a camping ground and resting place for the soldiers of the Civil War. It was originally a large square but as roads came in it was split diagonally in two leaving only the southeast triangle for the park grounds. The park is unkept with only a gazebo and 3 memorials commemorating the Civil War Camp. In keeping with that history we plan to renovate the park with theme gardens commemorating the wars from: the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

I desperately need your help to find the flora native and/or cultivated that grew in this z5 MI area during each of these eras to make each one of these theme gardens 'historicaly correct'.

And, since several of you have already worked on similar projects you might be able to give me ideas on fundraising to help with the finances. We have already been frowned upon by the Park Commission--so not much help there. We will have to apply for grants for the financing of the major constructions such as the iron entry arbor/gate, fountain(s), paved parking areas, the brick pathways leading to each of the theme gardens, the memorials for each garden, etc.

So far, there are only 3 women and 1 man in this club, so our ideas are not many yet. We would like to offer inscribed donor brick memorials for their family Vetrans to the public to be laid in the brick paths and help defray the cost. Also to have the public donate the park benches as memorials to their family Vetrans.

We thought of contacting Vetrans families through a newspaper notice to have them donate a favorite plant that grew in their Vetrans yard during their specific war and help defray the cost of the plantings from our shoulders.

We were going to have a plant swap in August but have decided to turn it into a plant sale to the public to help raise funds for this project. It won't be spectacular--the plants will have to come from our own gardens. We hope to make garden crafts such as plant markers and windchimes to sell also.

Any ideas and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I especially hope mustardgreens z5 MI will have a response.

Please HELP!

Spreadingvine

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JillP

Funding, get yourself established as a 501C3 non profit so you can access foundations etc. I do not know how your state works, but in Ohio the Community Development Block Grants (HUD) are made available to communities for projects that benefit Low and Moderate income families. Is this park in a LMI neighborhood? Talk to your town's community development person. There is the Land and Water Conservation Fund that provides funds for anything that is outdoor recreation. But the Parks and Recreation doesn't seem to excited, I would go for foundations.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2004 at 5:14PM
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simmonds(z8a TX)

HI, here in Dallas a group of us are in the process of restoring the Kiest Mememorial garden and 3 other parks. you might glance at our web sit and see what we are doing. it is http://www.friendsofoakcliffparks.org/. This group stated out small also, A few people just started meeting there almost every Saturday morning and began to clean, dig and plant donated plants, as these improvements got noticed more people joined in and an article in the paper was written, the city also started helping were it could. This past May the garden was on a local garden tour and we sold raffle tickets and raised $1400.00. In total, last year we recieved over $50,000.00 in goods,serves and cash. What I am trying to say is, start doing some thing visible, a garden, even if it does not fit into the grand plan. This will get you attention, hopefully get you more members, give your group credibility and then it will be easier to go to people, groups , bussineses and orgaizations and ask for money and needed items. We are now starting the grant process and are very hopeful that soon some major money will come in, we need close to $1,000,000 to restore this one garden and we will do it. If you need more input let me know, Tim

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 11:13AM
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spreadingvine(z5 MI)

JillP: Thanks for the info on the 501C3 non-profit. Simmonds suggested that too. I will find out if the park is in an LMI neighborhood--I know it is in the 'historical' part of Fenton. Thanks for the other leads too, I will check them out.

simmonds: Wow! I did check out your "Friends of Oak Cliff Parks" site. I think I'll suggest a webpage to our group to drum up members, sponsors, and etc. We can advertize the website on the local TV Community Channel--What a great way to get members and donations! Thanks!

I know many people were busy with holiday activities when I posted my query but I hope now that the holiday is over (well, almost over) that more of your group will read my post and offer ideas because you are all so experienced, educated, and knowledgeble in this field--I can take all you can give me.
Thanks, again,
Spreadingvine

    Bookmark   July 4, 2004 at 11:34PM
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