The development of a whimsical and meaningful Children’s Garden is taking shape and on schedule at Foxglenn Park in Flagstaff, the result of a successful capital campaign. Organizers say fundraising efforts will continue to complete the project by next summer.
Currently, phase one of the JLB (Jack’s Little Brother) Project is underway, which includes the infrastructure for the garden. Large boulders are in place that set the foundation for the gathering space by the memorial wall, which is being designed to resemble Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Steel fabricators from Artisan Metal Works are creating metal posts that will become the canvas for memorial plaques with children’s names. By late fall, Vista Landscapes, Warner’s Nursery and TERRA Birds will work on pathways and irrigation.
“We know that those who visit Foxglenn Park are already utilizing the additional seating that the boulders placed in the Children’s Garden provide,” said Capital Campaign Manager Dr. Lee McGarey, of Mountain View Pediatrics. “We have witnessed children climbing on, leaping onto, and playing on them. This was our hope for the space, that it would not be a solemn place but one of play, wonder, laughter and peace.”
Phase two, the “beautification phase,” is scheduled to begin in spring. Memorial plaques will be placed on the wall and plants will populate the Garden of Love.
Architect Jesse Stemmler says the build-out is designed to accentuate the natural environment and flow of the terrain. A metal Ribbon of Love will appear and re-appear through the landscape of the ¼-acre site and guide visitors up a small knoll at the south end of the park. “This ribbon will be the connective thread that ties our garden together, presenting opportunities for play, respite, memorializing and reflection,” he said.
The third and final phase of the Children’s Garden is expected to be completed by summer 2017. It includes a sculpture, provided through the City of Flagstaff’s Beatification and Public Art Commission, that will signify a release to the heavens, says Children’s Garden founder Anna LaBenz.
“This space was intended to bring light to the lives of our children, all children, those who have gone on before us and those who are still playing on the playground and running on the soccer fields,” she said. “Our hope is that this space will remind all of us that a life, no matter how long or short, makes a big impact on all of those in our community.”
McGarey and Melissa Takeuchi are co-chairs of the Children’s Garden project. They say there are still opportunities for community members and businesses to support the project by funding pavers, kinetic sculptures and benches. Donor level naming opportunities range from $500 to $10,000. In addition, volunteers will be needed in the spring to plant flowers.
“This is a way for us to raise the remaining funds to complete the garden and also a wonderful opportunity for the community to be a lasting part of a very unique and beautiful addition to our lovely mountain town,” said LaBenz.
Meantime, all proceeds from the 5th annual Chocolate Carnival on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Flagstaff Ranch will support the Children’s Garden.
Frost Furniture’s Andrew Frost and Bill Jenney join Stephen Ehrenreich, owner of Outlook Construction, at the Children’s Garden where they have installed and arranged boulders for a sitting area.
Photo by Betsey Bruner, courtesy of Flagstaff Business News