The Audrey Wychopen Memorial Parkette in Bond Head is truly a co-operative effort.
The triangular property at the northeast corner of County Roads 27 and 88 is owned by the County of Simcoe.
It was the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury that petitioned the county for permission to transform it into a parkette, with planters, pathways, benches and a sign.
And it's the volunteers with the Bond Head-Bradford Garden Club who maintain the small park – clearing away trash and weeds, filling the planters with flowering plants every year, and identifying needed improvements.
The parkette is named for the late Audrey Wychopen, a founding member of what was then the Bond Head Horticultural Society. There is also a plaque in the centre of the park, identifying the start of the historic plank road that linked Bond Head and Bradford in the 1800s.
On May 25, a small group of garden club members were at work in the parkette, wearing face masks and gardening gloves, and social distancing as they planted, weeded, and repaired some of the damage left behind by a company that worked in the area last year.
According to club members, a couple of the planters were moved and filled with clay excavated during the work, and a section of the sod was torn up and never properly restored.
The volunteers have done the best they can to clean up, reseed and replant, but Manager of Parks & Property Mike O’Hare, on hand to keep an eye on the volunteers, acknowledged that the company did “a shoddy job” of restoration.
He noted that the club needs to contact the county to ask for repairs. “It’s their property,” O’Hare said, although he promised the continued cooperation of the town to make the parkette more useful and attractive for Bond Head residents.
The work party provided garden club members with the opportunity to get outside, and get together for the first time this year, while maintaining physical distancing.
“I can’t believe how much work we did in such a short time. Working alone, that clean-up and planting would have taken two days,” said member Mikki Nanowski. “The energy other people bring is what makes everything work so much better. Isn’t that the lesson we are learning these days?”
The garden club has been unable to hold its usual monthly meetings at the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre, which has been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans are now to invite members to drop by The Bradford Print Shoppe, 170 Artesian Industrial Parkway in Bradford, next week between 10 a.m. and noon from Monday to Friday, to pay the membership fee of $10 per person, $15 per couple, pick up a membership card and year book, and share ideas.
“We hope that all the members are in good health,” said Nanowski, promising “we will be social distancing,” even while planning more planting and weeding get-togethers.