The Rock Garden in Akron Falls Park received a much-needed makeover over last month. Efforts began months before with one woman, Akron resident, Beverly Carlson, who had an idea and took it upon herself to begin the rehabilitation, a big project to take on by just one person.
The Akron Lions Club had also been discussing the Rock Garden for a few years as a possible community service project for the club. Seeing the beginning of Beverly’s efforts was what inspired them to advance this project to the summer. Lion’s Club President Phil Whiting stated, “It happened pretty quickly; I reached out to Beverly after seeing her work and within a week our club had gathered the tools, plants, field stone and ground cover to complete the job. Originally, she just wanted assistance funding the project, but looking at the state of the garden, our club figured we’d donate some elbow grease as well. Many members and some of our wives met with Beverly at the Rock Garden on Saturday, August 21 st and got to work. Around 3,500 pounds of ground cover was added the following Monday. I know a lot of members in our community will be pleased to see this garden get back to what it once was, and it all started with Bev.”
The idea of developing a community park, Akron Falls Park, began in the 1930s during the Depression, with funding by the Civil Works Administration. The Erie County Parks Department later acquired Akron Falls Park in 1947 and added footbridges, stone fireplaces and picnic tables. Construction of the original Rock Garden began in 1953 with the water fountain added in 1965. Over the years, county budget cuts have taken a toll on a number of areas in the park including the Rock Garden.
With the combined efforts of the Akron Lion’s Club and Mrs. Carlson weeding, dredging, scraping stones, planting, placing new boulders, and more the Rock Garden has come back to life. But the work isn’t done for Mrs. Carlson. “It has been a pleasure working alongside the Akron Lions Club in the restoration, bringing its beauty back after years of deterioration. The future may hold many more improvements. Thank you to the local park employees in their assistance getting the water flowing, removing the old fence and clearing all the daily debris,” she said.
An old proverb states, ‘Blessed is he who plants trees under whose shade he may never sit.’ Perhaps it can now be said that Akron is blessed to have folks like Beverly Carlson that take it upon themselves to better their community with an idea and a lot of hard work.