Memorial Park Gardens re-open in Appleton

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 05/09 2014 05:09PM

Updated 05/09 2014 07:12PM

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - In January the Gardens of the Fox Cities closed abruptly, after running into financial trouble.

Now, the city of Appleton is once again welcoming visitors to the facility.

"We realize what a treasure it is to the community and we realize it needed to be open and prepared for this season to meet the demand and phone calls that we have been getting" says Dean Gazza, Director of Parks and Recreation for Appleton.

After renting land from Appleton for almost 20 years the Gardens of the Fox Cities terminated its lease,  and closed the 35 acre facility.

The city will now incorporate the gardens into Memorial Park.

"We do not want it to deteriorate. It is an asset for our community" Gazza says.

Money to maintain the gardens will come from the park and recreation budget, with overflow financed through a general fund.

According to Gazza "We calculated it will be about $60,000 to cover our fixed costs. We are going to rent the facility out so that will help offset some of those costs".

Local photographers are excited one of their favorite backdrops will be maintained.

"Outdoor photography is really great because it gives you the chance to do a lot of things that you normally cannot do in a studio setting" says Jason Pamenter, Owner of Jdog Studios Photography.  

The city will devote two part time staff members in the summer.  

Volunteer help will be critical to minimize the impact to taxpayers.

"They can put down mulch, weed or water" Gazza explains.

Memorials will also maintained.

"There is just a lot of passion here. There are a lot of families as you walk around that donated a lot of time or money to these gardens. It is important we keep them maintained and here for the future".

There is no fee to walk in the gardens.

The building will be available for party rental starting in June.  Details can be found here.

For information on volunteering call 920-832-5514.

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