Gardnerville gives nod to proposed memorial park |

Gardnerville gives nod to proposed memorial park

by Sharon Carter

Plans for a proposed memorial park got a nod from the Gardnerville Town Board Thursday.

The town board approved the layout of the Soroptimist International’s Serenity Park, a non-recreational memorial park, which the service group expects to develop on Martin Slough wetlands next to the old Slaughterhouse Road and Ezell Street in east Gardnerville.

The approval was subject to a review of the town’s insurance risk managers.

Minden real estate agent Cora Hansen, who is shepherding the one-acre reserve’s creation, said the park is envisioned to enhance the existing wetlands and provide solace for those seeking a place for quiet reflection.

“It’s not recreation-friendly,” Hansen said Monday. “There’s no place for skateboards, so I don’t think kids will be interested in this. It will be an adult place to go and be quiet.”

With the exception of a walking path and a gazebo, Hansen said, the area will be left in natural vegetation.

She said improvements to make Serenity Park functional are estimated to cost about $30,000.

“We’ll have an annual budget allocation (from Soroptimists), based on what we earn every year,” Hansen said. “But, we’ll be seeking help and contributions from the community.”

n Donations accepted. Then, the plan is that people who are bereaved may donate water-friendly native trees, primarily cottonwoods and willows, to be planted and dedicated to lost loved ones.

“We got the idea for the park a few years ago, after we lost two Soroptimists, (former county commissioner) Barbara Cook and (local travel agent) Michelle Drew,” she said. “We dedicated trees for them at Lampe Park, but couldn’t put out plaques, and no one knew which trees were for them.

“We thought other people might be interested doing it – sometimes families like to do things of this nature.”

Hansen said if this park goes well, she will look for other sites in the area to set up similar memorial parks.

“It’s scheduled to take five years, but I’ll have it done quicker,” she said. “I want to live to see the trees get full-grown.”

Serenity Park has a maximum capacity for 120 trees, she said.

“Trees will probably cost between $50 and $300, depending on size,” she said. “We’re setting up an endowment fund for the park, so a person who dedicates a tree will be asked to donate $500 to the endowment fund for the tree’s perpetual care.”

Hansen said she already has labor commitments from officials at the China Spring Youth Camp and Rite of Passage to get the park in place and manicured.

“As the trees grow, we may want to add some lights and replace the split rail fence with wrought iron,” she said. “I’m also going after some grant money to help with the improvements.”

Hansen said park planners are working with the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stay within the laws and guidelines for wetlands management.