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Scout installs Peace Garden at Community Commons

Things are happening at the New Richmond Community Commons -- inside and out.

Immediately following a May 19 open house highlighting all of the agencies that now make use of the old middle school building on May 19, work began on a new garden that has transformed the entrance of the building. The work is sponsored in part by the VFW Post 10818, with additional funding from the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, and is being completed by Eric Lusardi, 14, Boy Scout Troop 140, for his Eagle Scout project.

Lusardi, who attended two years of middle school at the Community Commons building, said he wanted to create the Peace Garden because it was different and challenging.

According to Cheryl Emerson, director of Community Education and building manager of the Community Commons, Lusardi approached her with his idea for an garden in March.

"It seemed like a great idea and a perfect fit for what we would like to project about the Community Commons project to the community at large," she said.

The various organizations were made aware of the project and through some donations, the ball started rolling in April when Lusardi and Emerson finalized a plan for the garden.

A team of scouts and community volunteers worked through the heat and the rain to prepare the site for planting. Even after only two days of work, changes were visable. Gone is the black metal railing that surrounded the space. A large, rotten tree was also removed. Several shrubs have been transplanted, and a path now winds through the open area.

After the fourth workday, a retaining wall of blocks outlined the gravel path. Work continued until the gravel path was completed with decorative blocks. As of June 10, the planting was finished. All that remains is to install the bench and dedicate the peace pole.

"Eric (and his helpers) have done an outstanding job in presenting the project, following thru on the details that make a huge project like this labor intensive, showing up for many man-hours, securing funds for the project, and finally completing the project," Emerson said. "Eric continues to show up every day to water the garden to make sure that the plants do well and survive."

The project has taken more than 321 man-hours, not including all the planning and behind-the-scenes work. Lusardi said the hardest part of the project was leading the adults, because they tend to take charge.

Lusardi said he'd like to thank those who contributed time, effort and materials for the project, including the local VFW, which donated $800, and the New Richmond Community Foundation, who granted $500 to the project.

"Thank you to Eric for making our 'City Beautiful' even more so," said Emerson.