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Corrine Olson: Volunteers work hard to preserve gardens

From the COLLECTION: Debating converting fish hatchery into wedding venue and more series

I am one of many volunteers in the La Crosse Riverside International Friendship Gardens.

The Gardens reflect our appreciation for the diverse cultures which share the Earth. They are public gardens with priority to those who walk through the gardens and enjoy their natural beauty.

Garden volunteers, with support from City Parks employees, work hard in the gardens. You may never see the Master Gardeners, Sister City Committees who do fundraising and the Board of Directors who do behind the scenes work. City Parks people keep the water features working such as the Irish water wheel, Norwegian falls and China fish pond. They also remove garden trimmings and provide mulch.

Sculptures, flower pots, benches are only possible because of much-appreciated donations.

The majority of visitors respect the gardens by walking their bikes, walking leashed dogs, staying on the paths and not disturbing sculptures, rocks or plantings, not smoking/vaping or leaving garbage such as confetti, cigarette butts and syringes. However there are those who create work and expense by doing the opposite. Recently a statue in Cameroon Garden was severely damaged, many trolls were vandalized and chess pieces taken.

I've listed some of the reasons so many of us are passionate about protecting the integrity and beauty of these gardens. With the proposed leasing of the historic fish hatchery and garage, we understand and support the city's desire to upgrade historic buildings, but we do not want to see the public's enjoyment of the park and gardens jeopardized.

Corrine Olson

La Crosse 

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