Veterans garden getting upgrades

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From left, Bill Ross and, yes, Bill Ross of Ross’ Nurserymen get a little help from Robert Laidlaw Ondrovcik in putting up a new flagpole at Veterans’ Tribute Garden on Thames Street in Chatham Aug. 28. The new pole is part of the second phase of revitalization taking place at the waterside park.

From left, Bill Ross and, yes, Bill Ross of Ross’ Nurserymen get a little help from Robert Laidlaw Ondrovcik in putting up a new flagpole at Veterans’ Tribute Garden on Thames Street in Chatham Aug. 28. The new pole is part of the second phase of revitalization taking place at the waterside park.

Veterans’ Tribute Garden is at times a serene place in Chatham. It sits between the two Thames – Thames Street and the Thames River.

As peaceful as it is, the garden has its share of wrinkles. That’s why the Veterans’ Tribute Garden Association is giving it a facelift.

Joseph Grootenboer | Riverbell Market Garden from Foster Visuals on Vimeo.

Association member Robert Laidlaw Ondrovcik said the first phase of that cosmetic surgery took place last year. It involved adding a new sign on the street side of the park and a handicap-accessible sidewalk in the centre of the park.

The second phase is underway. On Aug. 28, staff from Ross’ Nurserymen erected a new flagpole, around which will go a new garden, Laidlaw said.

The ship’s anchor that’s in the east end of the park near the river will be shifted further west. A retaining wall is going in on the west side of the property, as will another handicap-accessible sidewalk. Elevated flowerbeds are in the works as well, Laidlaw said.

“Our long-term dream is to put in a water healing garden,” he said, pointing to the centre of the park. “The waterfall is dead. It leaks and isn’t fixable.”

That waterfall is located near the river. It is currently fenced off and inactive.

Laidlaw said the municipality would love to see it removed as well, as it is a problem whenever the Thames River overflows its banks.

Laidlaw said the association raises funding for the park by selling tea at the Wednesday night concerts in Tecumseh Park put on by the Chatham Concert Band.

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