Photo by Joe Boyle
State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th) works on preparing the "Community Gardens" outside the Terrace Centre of the Worth Park District on July 29. She is assisted by Worth Park District Park District Commissioner Paula Marr (center) and Kelly Pezdek (in back), the financial and human sources director for the Worth Park District
By Joe Boyle
Members of the Worth Park District believed it was time to create some sunshine that a garden can bring.
Robert O'Shaughnessy, director of the Worth Parks and Recreation Department, said the idea of having "Community Gardens" dates back to a year ago through an idea by Rudy Krastin, who was working on his Eagle Scout project.
"He reached out to the community," O'Shaughnessy said. 'We helped him when it began in August of 2019. But we could not have a ceremony this year because of the virus. At first, there was not that much response, but later more people helped. He had a lot of volunteers out here to make the garden. He really wanted to do this for the community."
The Community Gardens are located just outside the Worth Park District's Terrace Centre, 11500 S. Beloit Ave. The Eagle Scout project was a gift that Krastin was focused on doing this for the Worth Park District.
The gardens are about three feet wide by nine feet and can be rented individually or by halves, depending on interest. The rules and guidelines for the gardens will ensure that all participating gardeners have the opportunity for a positive gardening experience, O'Shaughnessy said.
And what better way to create something positive in year of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, O'Shaughnessy said.
"Due to COVID-19, Scouts can't even gather for meetings this year," O'Shaughnessy said. "So, we are helping with the planting and this can be done every year. This is just a great addition to the park district."
O'Shaughnessy received some assistance in planting flowers and plants in the two garden areas located just east of the Terrace Centre. Members of the Worth Park District Board of Park Commissioners helped to make the garden areas a reality on July 29. Worth Park District Board Commissioners Dan Feltz and Paula Marr helped to plant the flowers and plants. State Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th) also assisted in sprucing up the garden and watering plants.
"We welcome any community support," O'Shaughnessy added.
O'Shaughnessy took photos and assisted in placing the plants and flowers in the garden beds. The park district commissioners and Burke also helped in the planting and watering. All of the volunteers completed the project that evening by adding mulch to the gardens.
Kelly Pezdek, the financial and human resources director for the Worth Park District, also joined in to help out with the project.
The gardens are a great opportunity for community groups or individuals to enjoy nature, plant flowers, grow fruits and vegetables, and get some exercise from the practice of gardening, O'Shaughnessy said.
O'Shaughnessy said that individuals who support the community gardens and want to support the program need to follow an agreement of conduct.
More information about the Worth Park District can be obtained by calling (708) 448-7080.
"This has been something positive," O'Shaughnessy said. "I'm glad we could do this for the community."