Wheels in motion for gazebo for Community Garden in O’Fallon
To further the community-building goals of the O’Fallon Garden Club, a new gazebo will be constructed this spring in the Community Garden.
The nonprofit group has raised $40,000 to date for the project.
Carolyn Sitzes — a charter member and current vice president — said they are grateful for all the fundraising support over the years, including a garage sale in February, their annual plant sales and more.
“The gazebo will be a wonderful place for gatherings, photos and special events,” she said. “It’s exciting to get the wheels in motion. We have been working on this for a long time, since the beginning.”
The Community Garden, at State and Smiley streets, was developed in 2010 from a reclaimed trailer park.
It has 15 flower beds, a vegetable garden, and an apiary.
They will continue to accept donations.
“We will want to put benches, pathways and more apiaries,” Sitzes said. “There will always be something to do”
Liz Oakley of O’Fallon, a landscape artist, had helped them with the garden layout. Sitzes said she told them: “Everybody’s garden needs a gazebo.”
Club members researched different kinds and came up with the plan, she said.
“It is going to be 24 square feet — an octagon, made out of cedar wood with a green metal roof,” she said.
Because the group’s public garden projects are under the umbrella of the O’Fallon City Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee, the project needs to be approved in a resolution at the Monday, April 3, council meeting.
The Finance and Administration Committee advanced plans during their meeting Monday, March 27.
The gazebo will be ordered after Monday, April 3 — pending approval — within the next week, and is expected to be delivered in 4-6 weeks.
Volunteers have offered to help with construction, concrete-pouring and other tasks. The Sunrise Rotary Club may donate work hours.
“We hope to be able to complete it this summer,” Sitzes said. “We will dedicate it at an open house or some sort of ‘evening at the garden.’ We want to let the community know how much we appreciate their donations. This has just been a wonderful thing for O’Fallon.”
“We all work together, and have the same goals,” she added. “It brings everyone together and it’s just fun.”
Regarding the meeting Monday, Sitzes said: “It was unanimous and several aldermen said they appreciated everything we do for O’Fallon.”
Besides growing and donating thousands of pounds of produce to the O’Fallon Food Pantry each year, they rent garden spaces, tend to the flowers and process the honey in the garden on State Street.
“It’s won all sorts of awards,” she said.
Members tend to the greenery and displays in the traffic circle on the corner State Street and Greenmount Road.
Sitzes said she had taken a Master Gardener Class through University of Illinois Extension Service as had a couple others. They were expected to volunteer hours in the community.
“But there wasn’t any place. We went to then-Mayor Gary Graham and he gave us that opportunity,” she said.
Education is one of their focuses, so is engaging the community.
“There is a lot of talent in O’Fallon with all of the different trades and expertise,” she said.
Their plant sale will take place Saturday, May 6, at the AgeSmart building at 802 W. State St..
More about O’Fallon Garden Club
To donate funds to OGC, contact Treasurer Robert Winkler at email@example.com.
With over 100 members — including 30 Master Gardeners — the OGC meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at Rock Springs Park in the cabin, 1428 E. Third St., O’Fallon. They welcome new members and meetings are open to the public.
For more information, visit https://www.ofallongardenclub.com or their Facebook page at O’Fallon IL Garden Club.