You could say that Sherwood Island made lemons lemonade out of lemonade lemons.
A better analogy would be: The state park’s admirers and friends made foie gras out of goose poop.
Less than 2 weeks ago, “06880” published alert reader Ellen Bowen’s complaint that the 9/11 Living Memorial there — Connecticut’s tribute to state residents lost on that tragic day 15 years ago — was an unkempt disgrace.
Very quickly, several things happened.
Tony Palmer — owner of T. Palmer Landscaping and Anthony’s Nursery and Garden Center, both in Westport — donated a 3-man crew. Working gratis for 2 days, they weeded, pruned rose bushes, cleaned and helped the overworked, under-budgeted park staff get the memorial in tip-top shape.
Other volunteers turned out yesterday, to weed, clear and prune a large garden bed that visitors pass on their way to the memorial.
The garden bed on the way to the Sherwood Island 9/11 memorial.
Bowen’s story also brought attention to Friends of Sherwood Island. The non-profit does important, seldom-noticed work everywhere in the park. Its annual fundraiser — ShoreFest — is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow.
Local businesses and individuals rushed to offer goods and services for the silent auction.
In addition, a major donation — for ongoing plantings — was made to the Friends’ tree committee.
It’s easy for Westporters to overlook Sherwood Island. Residents may not realize Connecticut’s oldest state park is also home to our 9/11 memorial — and a robust organization that serves the entire 220-acre property.
Thanks to Ellen Bowen’s alert, more Westporters now do.
And many are doing whatever they can to help make Sherwood Island sparkle.
“06880” reader Ellen Bowen recently visited Sherwood Island State Park. She was stunned at the condition of the state’s official 9/11 memorial. Among the Connecticut residents honored there are several Westporters.
With the 15th anniversary of that tragic day near, Ellen writes:
Imagine my surprise and disgust to find the plaques covered with goose poop, and the walkways and grassy areas (including near the water fountain and picnic area) overrun and filled with weeds. The condition was disgusting. And I paid $9 to park.
I am appalled and saddened that a beautiful and contemplative place remembering the victims and heroes who lost their lives that day has become an embarrassment to our town and the state of Connecticut. I will share some of the pictures I took with the Friends of Sherwood Island, local and state government officials, and anyone else I can think of.
I hope they clean it up in time for the governor and 9/11 families’ visit, and the memorial service, on September 8. But I sincerely hope they consider maintaining the memorial on a year-round basis, and not just “for show.”
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