As many Baldwin residents awoke to the first day of summer last Saturday, some final touches were being made to a piece of land that hasn’t seen much action in recent years. But over the last few weeks, the area behind the Baldwin Historical Society Museum has been a hub for community volunteerism.
The parcel behind the museum, off Grand Avenue between Laurel Court and East Seamen Avenue, is the new location of a community garden. The Baldwin Civic Association, in concert with the historical society and county officials, organized and officially opened the garden with a ceremony on June 21, the summer Solstice.
Rita Cavanagh, chairperson of the BCA’s Beautification Committee, took the lead on the garden project and coordinated with local residents, groups, businesses and politicians to make it a reality.
When Cavanagh became head of the Beautification Committee last November, she immediately wanted to incorporate more art in the community. She then heard from Matthew Fallon, a permaculturist in Baldwin, and the idea of a garden that integrated art became the focus.
After getting the OK from the historical society, Cavanagh then reached out to Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin). Since the county owns the land, the BCA needed county approval to use it, which County Executive Ed Mangano granted a few weeks ago.
Greg May, of the county executive’s office, was pleased with the relatively short timeframe needed to approve the project. “When everyone works together things get done,” he said.
Over the last few months, Cavanagh has reached out to local businesses to secure donations and coordinated with the local schools to get students to help out. On Mother’s Day, Cavanagh and Kim Taylor, with the help of their daughters, primed a wall on the back of the museum. Advanced Placement art students at Baldwin High School painted a mural the following week depicting the pond that once was located where the garden now does.
“It’s so wonderful to see our community come together and build this beautiful project,” Taylor said.