With a cut of a red ribbon, the Riverside Reflection Garden became official last week.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was part of the celebration when the garden’s grand opening was held on Oct. 25.
Representatives of the city of Waupaca, Riverside Medical Center and Fox Valley Technical College were among those in attendance on the cold, overcast day.
“On behalf of FVTC, thanks for letting us get involved in the project,” said Jim Beard, the FVTC landscape architect and horticulture instructor who designed the park plan with the help of his students.
It was Beard who cut the ribbon during the ceremony.
The city of Waupaca and Riverside Medical Center partnered with FVTC to build the garden on the hospital campus.
It overlooks the Crystal River and was built on top of the basement foundation of the old ThedaCare Physicians building, which has since been transformed into an underground stormwater runoff treatment facility.
The approximately 75×250-foot garden features walkways, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, as well as a raised garden bed so patients in wheelchairs can experience the flowers and plants up close from their vantage point.
During a workday last June, Beard and his students served as the project’s leaders, guiding the approximately 80 people on hand that day to help.
John Edlebeck, Waupaca’s director of public works, said the city, RMC and FVTC were actively involved in the project, with hundreds of people and thousands of volunteer hours part of it.
And, he said the garden holds true to several ideals. They include improving the water quality in that area of the city, recycling the former clinic’s basement foundation and providing a space of comfort for patients, employees and visitors.
“Today, we have a wonderful community asset,” he said.
Mayor Brian Smith said, “We’re so proud of our parks system in the city of Waupaca. It’s nice to see we can work together on a project.”
Craig Kantos is the CEO of Riverside Medical Center, and he thanked Edlebeck and the city for spearheading the project and the students, FVTC and the many people who volunteered to put the project together.
“I’m curious to see how it will look next year,” he said. “I thank all who put time and effort in it.”