Rotaract member Zach Yerxa rakes crushed stone as fellow club members and volunteers build wooden planting beds on Saturday, June 3, at the Rose Garden community garden on Broadway in Woodstock. Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Anyone travelling along Broadway or Union Street on the south side of Woodstock will notice something growing on the site of the former Broadway School. 

Soon, the literal growth will begin. 

With widespread business and community support, Woodstock’s Rotaract Club took giant steps to prepare The Rose Garden — named in honour of the landowners Stephen and Joel Rose — for the spring planting of vegetables to help feed the community. 

On Saturday, June 3, Rotaract members and volunteers built and placed planting boxes on the newly spread crushed stone. 

“It’s definitely for the community, by the community,” said Rotaract member Zach Yerxa as he hand-raked crushed stone Saturday afternoon as others assembled the raised wooden planting boxes behind him. 

He said local businesses and industries, including construction, landscaping, gardening and greenhouse operations, retail and others, stepped forward with donations of materials and labour to make the Rotaract project a success. 

Rose Community Garden membership applications at $25 are available on its Facebook site.

Yerxa explained garden members could choose to plant in raised or traditional (in-ground) beds. 

Woodstock council threw its support behind the project at its May 16 meeting, approving Rotaract’s request for town sponsorship. Council unanimously agreed to use $10,000 from its sponsorship budget to support The Rose Garden. 

Coun. Christa McCartney, one of the volunteers helping build the wooden garden beds on June 3, strongly supported the project at the May 16 council meeting. 

“The southside needs new projects,” she said. 

Coun. Julie Calhoun Willians praised Rotaract members’ commitment, noting their dedicated efforts to secure donations from the community. She said the club earned sponsorship support from the town.

Part of the town’s sponsorship support may go directly to helping cover the costs of acquiring and installing a six-foot-high chain-link fence to surround the garden. The fence will include a locked gate with members given a code for the lock to access the garden lot. 

Council discussed security at the garden, noting its potential to be the target of vandals. Council members agreed the area needs improved lighting. 

In response to questions from Mayor Trina Jones and council members, CAO Andrew Garnett said N.B. Power would not charge to install dust-to-dawn lights at the garden site, but the town would pay the ongoing electricity costs. 

He added the cost would not be high but suggested N.B. Power should decide on the most optimal location of the new lights.  

Deputy Mayor Mark Rogers asked if the garden could use the old lights from the soon-to-be renovated Woodstock Town Square. Garnett said the town could study that possibility. 

With the approved $10,000 sponsorship donation, Woodstock Finance Director Kristin Pelkey said the sponsorship budget still has over $15,000 remaining.

By Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 14, 2023 at 17:02

This item reprinted with permission from   River Valley Sun   Woodstock, New Brunswick
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