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Rotarians dedicate garden to children

Staff Photo: Jay Jones. Members of the Rotary Club of Conyers and others walk in the Children's Garden at the Light House Village following the garden's dedication ceremony Thursday. The garden was built for the planned Dream House for Medically Fragile Children at the community service complex on Sigman Road.

Staff Photo: Jay Jones. Members of the Rotary Club of Conyers and others walk in the Children's Garden at the Light House Village following the garden's dedication ceremony Thursday. The garden was built for the planned Dream House for Medically Fragile Children at the community service complex on Sigman Road.

CONYERS -- The Rotary Club of Conyers dedicated the Children's Garden at Light House Village, which is designed to provide a ray of sunshine for medically fragile children.

Located at the entrance to the Light House Village at Sigman Road, the garden includes a gazebo, arbor swing, stone butterfly bench and winding walkway. The dedication ceremony Thursday culminated a four-year effort by the Conyers Rotary Club to complete the garden.

The garden is a welcome addition to the Light House Village, home to the Phoenix Pass transitional housing facility and Rockdale Cares' Haven House provider respite center, but its focus will be toward the planned Dream House for Medically Fragile Children.

The Dream House is proposed to be built adjacent to the garden and has a mission to get medically fragile children out of hospitals sooner and, in turn, improve their quality of life. Children identified as wards of the state will be targeted to remove them from sometimes expensive care in hospitals and nursing homes and provide a transitional care program geared toward children.

Jeff Beech, president of the Light House Village, called the garden "a site of refuge" for children and their providers who will come to Conyers for the services offered at the Dream House.

Bruce Ahlstrand, chairman of the Rotary Club's Light House Village Committee, said the garden was one of the club's biggest local projects and thanked everyone involved in taking on the challenge to complete the garden and those who donated materials, money and time to the effort.

"This wonderful place, the Light House Village, is a welcome addition to the landscape of Rockdale County," he said. "We of the Rotary Club of Conyers are most happy to have played a small role in its development and growth. This garden is our small contribution to this wonderful place that will only get better and better as time goes on."

The Master Gardeners of Rockdale County worked on planting and maintaining the central garden and surrounding area. Master Gardener Dick Chenoweth was recognized as the "chief gardener and plantsman" of the Children's Garden.

The Conyers Garden Club was also recognized for creating, donating and maintaining the front garden.

The Vaughn Family Foundation provided support for the gazebo, arbor swing and landscaping. Fieldstone Center Inc. was recognized for its donation of the stone butterfly bench installed in the garden. Ernst Concrete provided concrete for the garden walkway.

Others recognized were Rotary District 6910, Perry Conner, Tony Dowdy, Drew Watkins of Piedmont Landscaping, Fox and Barbara McCarthy, Ben Wells and his Boy Scouts for installing the wheelchair accessible ramp to the gazebo, and countless adult and youth volunteers from local churches, who provided hours of "joyful labor."

Barbara McCarthy, past president of the Conyers Rotary Club, told the gathering that the "truth about gardens is that they are never finished." She encouraged continued support for the garden in service and donations.

Donations or memorial gifts can be sent to Conyers Rotary Club, P.O. Box 81612, Conyers, GA 30013. More information about the Dream House can be found at www.dreamhouseforkids.org.