Circle of Love Memorial Garden nearing completion in Medina
By Sue Cook
MEDINA – Last year, two members of the Memories of Medina Facebook page passed away leading the group to create a memorial garden in their honor.
At the Glenwood Lake boat launch site just north of Boxwood Cemetery, the garden is already nearing completion and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
“I came down here to my thinking spot,” said Dayton Hausman, one of the garden organizers. “I looked around and said there’s no color down here. It’s just green by the water.”
The garden was created originally in honor of Michelle Stanton Jones who lost her battle with cancer on July 29, 2013. She was an early member of the Memories of Medina Facebook page. Its original purpose was to share news, memories and other tidbits of Medina, while also offering a way for members to network and make new friends. Stanton Jones organized meet-and-greet events through the page for the people of Medina to meet each other.
The garden site coincided with being the location of the very first meet-and-greet that Stanton Jones headed. The group met under the pavilion, which is only about a hundred feet from the garden.
“Michelle lived out by Lake Ontario, so she loved the water,” Hausman said. “Just about anyone who grew up in Medina says Glenwood is our little secret.”
“It’s always just quiet and peaceful,” said Tim Bensley. “If you were to put a place where you’d go sit and think, this would be it.”
“Behind this was idea of reflection and to add color,” added Hausman.
The garden also honors Linda Froman, a prominent business woman and active community member. She was also a big player in the Memories of Medina page and passed away two days after Stanton Jones.
“There was a loose committee of individuals in the group that agreed to give it a shot,” Hausman said. “We went to the town of Ridgeway and presented our ideas and they backed us. They gave us permission and we met with Mark Goheen from the highway department and got the rules and regulations of what we could and couldn’t do. They were very supportive.”
The garden is funded by donations. Many monetary donations have been made by local businesses and Medina residents. Collection jars were also left at many businesses. Almost all of the features of the garden, such as the angel and birdhouse, were donated by community members.
Hannah Pollard of Grant-Pollard Insurance also organized a basket raffle that brought in about $10,000 in donations. This is what prompted the garden to be upgraded from a little 6′ by 9′ space designed to look like a smiley face to 100′ by 37′ series of rings and hearts. Some of the money will be left over after the garden is completed for any ongoing maintenance of the site.
Tim Bensley, owner of Bensley’s Home Services, used his construction experience and the volunteer support of high-schoolers to create the space. About 12 Medina High School grads and students, mostly young women, assisted in making the space with six of them showing up regularly.
“It been truly an emotional experience to come down here and work,” Bensley said. “There’s so many things that happen when you’re down here. There were these two geese. As soon as I would get here, these geese would arrive. They’d land in the lake, we’d work, we’d leave, they’d fly off. I was calling them Linda and Michelle, like they were checking up on me.”
Local businesses also helped in other ways. JC Signs lettered the sign that stands over the entry path. Art Hill Excavating and Shelby Stone contributed materials and Medina Lumber and White Pines Nursery gave discounts toward their purchases.
“It’s a community project that came out of a lot of sadness, but it’s a source of pride,” said Hausman.
Besides two plaques being created for Stanton Jones and Froman, memorial plaques are also available for purchase to remember others. So far about 30 plaques have been purchased. They are available for $75 and can be purchased at Grant-Pollard Insurance in Medina from Hannah or Libby Pollard.
The plaques will be used to line the top edge of the center ring in the garden at first. There is space for 127 on there. If more space is needed as time goes on, further concentric rings will be constructed expanding outward.
“It’s far more than any of us ever imagined,” Bensley said. “It’s kind of grown over the year.”
The remaining construction at the site includes the installation of six stone benches, a large centerpiece of a stone circle with a heart in the center, the installation of the plaques and the addition of solar lights. The dedication ceremony will take place in the spring when the plants in the garden are colorful.