Clary Gardens $1M renovations will improve grounds and events

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  • Clary Gardens recently launched a new waterfall pond near an event pavilion installed last year.
  • The paths around the pavilion have also been widened and improved, including accessibility for people with disabilities.
  • A new garden with stairs, called the white garden, will be installed under the pavilion in November as a new wedding venue.
  • Clary Gardens, in its 21st year, is considered one of the best wedding venues in the state. It has 20 acres with two historic homes, walking trails and more.

COSHOCTON — Renovations around the Clary Gardens pavilion were recently revealed at a special ceremony involving advisors from America in Bloom.

Last summer, Clary Gardens celebrated its 20th anniversary by unveiling a new pavilion with a concrete floor and a wooden roof. It replaced a tent area used for special events and wedding receptions.

The 20-acre facility at 588 W. Chestnut St. is a community botanical garden that has become one of the top wedding venues in the state. It also hosts other activities such as an annual butterfly exhibit and outdoor plays by Rogue Elephant Productions. “Godspell” was performed this year and “Spamalot” is scheduled for next summer.

The gardens include two historic houses, a natural amphitheater, a rose garden with gazebo, a children’s garden and walking paths.

Over the past few weeks, the paths leading to the pavilion have been improved, including accessibility for people with disabilities, and a pond with a waterfall has been created. Further work is planned for November, including the creation of another wedding venue and a grand staircase under the pavilion, Clary Gardens general manager Jandi Adams said. A fireplace is also added to the pavilion.

An improved walkway for better disabled accessibility has been added up to the Events Pavilion at Clary Gardens.  This is part of the first phase of a project which also sees the completion of a pond with waterfall.

Adams said some finishing work on the pond is expected to be completed this week. The whole project is estimated at just over a million dollars. The first phase was funded by grants, donations and the Clary Gardens Foundation. More grants and donations are being sought for phase two.

“We really wanted to set up this first phase as a foundation for what the future will look like here,” Adams said.

Hathaway Inc. is the general contractor with Dave Kridler as the stonemason. Adams said it was important for them to use local businesses for work whenever possible. This includes purchasing necessary items from local stores.

“They are part of this community. Not only do they work here, they live here. They have come back to this space and have just seen how vibrant and unique this space is becoming. They take pride in their work and want to show it off. disabled,” Adams said. “We think it’s so important to keep our money here in Coshocton. These people have supported Clary Gardens over the years and we think it’s really important to support them.”

Artist renderings of new additions to Clary Gardens which includes a fireplace, a pond with waterfall and a grand staircase.  All work is estimated at just over $1 million, with phase two due to begin in November.

Clary Gardens board member Dorothy Skowrunski said developing a master plan for improvement had been a goal from day one. Now that they have a plan, it’s moving fast.

“It’s truly a miracle that we’ve achieved so much in such a short time,” Skowrunski said.

Although not complete, the pond made its debut at a recent community celebration as part of a regional tour for advisors from America in Bloom, a national flower and landscape competition that Coshocton has participated nine times over the past 12 years.

Councilors Leslie Pittenger of Belpre and Linda Cromer of Greendale, Indiana, took notes on what he felt Coshocton was doing well and what he could improve in key areas. Categories assessed include community vitality, flowers, landscaped spaces, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage celebration, and overall impression. The reports will be revealed at a September 29-October 1 symposium in St. Louis, Missouri.

View from above of a concrete walkway and the start of a waterfall descending to a pond behind the Events Pavilion at Clary Gardens.  The work should be completed this week.

Pittenger and Cromer visited Coshocton in 2017 and definitely see the community as on the rise. This included the new additions to Clary Gardens, which they already thought was a real gem for the city.

“Five years ago we saw ideas come into play and now it is slowly moving towards realizing what it can be. I see (Clary Gardens) heading to even greater heights,” Cromer said. “Good things take time. You can put things together, but when you’re trying to build something for generations in the community, you have to do it right.”

Leonard Hayhurst is community content coordinator and generalist reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with nearly 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.

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