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Lavender Garden ADA Paths

By December 31, 2023Beet 2024 01 January

During the 2023 class, student Kendyl Berkowitz approached the Fundraising Working Group with an offer that couldn’t be refused.  As Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Rogue Valley, a local foundation providing housing upgrades for low-income families, she searches for grants available to fund the foundation’s work.

A $10,000 grant had come available from Fortune Brand.  The requirements included the funds had to be given to a local non-profit to increase accessibility.  Kendyl determined the Jackson Co. Master Gardener Association would be the ideal recipient.

All Working Groups were asked for accessibility ideas.  Garden pathways that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards was chosen.  Because the renovation of the grounds will be starting soon, creating the need to move some gardens, it was decided that a garden unlikely to be moved should be chosen.  For that reason, and because it is on the annual Lavender Tour and, thus, more visited by the public, the Lavender Garden was determined to be “the one.”

Irv Johnson and Margaret Clark, the Garden Education Mentors (GEMs), asked that the work be scheduled after the Lavender Tour in July.  The contractor, Travis Curtis Construction, set the beginning date for October when the cooler weather would be suitable for drying cement.

Originally the path to be converted to ADA standards was going to run between the Lavender Garden and the Vineyard with a landing pad running along the front of the garden.  SOREC Director Alec Levin asked that another path be added to run from the entrance to the northeast corner of the garden, allowing visitors in wheelchairs to get into the garden.  He offered to use funds available to him to pay half the cost of this addition.  The JCMGA Board of Directors agreed to pay the other half.

GEM’s Irv Johnson and Margaret Clark; Garden Enhancement Committee members Marcie Katz, Janine Salvatti, and Lynn Boening; Fundraising Working Group members Sandy Hammond and Jane Moyer; JCMGA Board Member Kathy Apple, 2023 student Lorrie Kaplan, and Master Gardener Coordinator Grace Florjancic worked multiple days to cut back the lavender along the affected paths to create room wide enough for wheelchairs.

Everything was going smoothly.  Travis Curtis used small equipment to dig the paths out.  The date for pouring the cement was set for October 12.  And then, OH, NO!  Travis contracted COVID!  Everything came to a screeching halt!

Finally, in early November, the day came with one unexpected bonus.  Travis had mistakenly cut one path too many. Rather than having to take the time to fill it back in and compact it, he offered to make an additional path at his expense.  THANK YOU, Travis!

We encourage all Master Gardeners to pay a visit to the Lavender Garden to see the new paths.  They are beautiful!