By: Evan Caras
In August, money from a special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) will go to the Ware-Lydon House, located at 293 Hoyt St, to construct a historic garden and to landscape some aspects of the garden.
According to the official proposal, submitted by the Board of Directors of the Ware-Lyndon House, the garden is going to be modeled after the former Stevens Thomas Garden, which is from the same era.
The overall intention for the new addition to the house is to add a garden to show what the house would have looked like originally as well as to enhance the experience of the visitors.
The garden will also be educational since it will have displays up explaining what the garden is and give a brief history lesson to those that visit.
In addition, the garden will also feature a way to showcase water conservation.
A new system will be built that will allow the house to run on its own water the majority of the time and only very rarely will it have to rely on the government to supply the water.
In total, the system is expected to produce a total of 250 to 500 gallons of water per day.
On the other hand, as desirable as a new water system would be, having one installed will not be easy.
“A must have feature of the garden is a working cistern that will be both an educational and interpretive feature, but will also serve as the sole source for garden irrigation once the garden is established. Designing and constructing an affordable cistern that will capture enough water to service the garden during the summer will be a challenge,” Barbara Andrews, the Arts and Nature Division Administrator of the Leisure Services Department stated.
The new garden will have a set of brick steps that will lead from the street, directly to the porch.
The centerpiece of the garden is going to be a cast iron fountain.
The actual shape of the garden will be rectangular, and hedges will shape the outline of the garden.
The garden will also have four apostrophe looking flowerbeds that will be symmetrical to each other.
They bottom of the apostrophes will all face each other and the fountain will be in the very center of the formation.
The intention of the design is that those who have come to relax can enjoy the garden at the front of the house easier than the people who have come on a more serious business.
As of right now the garden is unappealing to look at.
It has a few trees, a few plants, a few flowers, and one abstract sculpture.
The grass is horribly uneven, there is discoloration is some spots of the garden, and some of the plants show clear signs of damage.
This is a stark contrast from the house itself, both inside and outside, since the house is a very fine building and lots of detail clearly went into its construction.
The inside is filled with artwork and is nicely put together.
Everywhere one looks there is something that can draw one’s eye; whether it is the artwork, old books in the library, or even the studios themselves.
It is no wonder why the building’s management wants a new garden.
However, although the garden would look nice, brighten up the area, and serve and educational function; it has stirred up controversy about whether the garden should have been implemented in the first place.
The biggest concern about adding the new garden is that it will be turned into more of a general community center for paid purposes as opposed to how it is now where a person can come in and enjoy the art library or perhaps relax in warm weather.
If the house went too far in the paid direction people would worry whether if all the services the house offers for free, namely the library and the art studios, will remain free or if they will even still be in the house.
Pam Reidy, the Leisure Services director, admitted that she heard a lot of people that worried that the garden could change to a community center, but she also stated that their fears were likely unfounded.
Pam Reidy noted that they were not going to be taking anything away from the house despite the direction it was going in.
Originally, Edward R. Ware built the house in the mid 1800, the government acquired the house in 1939, and the house was later restored in 1960.
The new addition will not be cheap, as it will cost a total of 225,000 dollars to implement and a further 5,000 dollars per year to maintain.
The most expensive change is estimated to be the construction of the cistern, a device used to catch and store rainwater, at 30,000 dollars, while the cheapest is expected to be the seventy shrubs which cost twenty-five dollars each totaling 1,750 dollars.
The garden itself will have a total area of 4675 feet (or eighty-five feet by fifty five feet).
A side benefit of the new garden is that it would make the overall area look much nicer than it currently does.
“The process is currently underway to hire professional services to design the garden. Once the final design is approved, the construction phase will be bid out to contractors who specialize in this type of project and will build to specifications…and to have the construction completed by November,” according to Barbara Andrews.