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Area landscape professionals support community project

Ringdahl Architects, Inc. The sketch above shows the plans for the Maritime Gardens. The gardens include picnic shelters, a band shelter with seating, walking paths and more.

Landscape contractors from the area have been meeting to design and coordinate the Maritime Gardens Project.

The garden site is attached to the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria and will be an educational arboretum garden setting that can be enjoyed by the entire community.

"This will be a special place for people to visit. The possibilities for what can be done here are almost endless," said Dan O'Brian of Alexandria Irrigation, one of the supporters of the project.

The garden will feature many varieties of plantings as well as benches, picnic areas, play areas and walking paths for the enjoyment of all visitors.

A band shell and stage and seating area will be the center point of this community-oriented space.

"We all plan to work together to get this project done," said Gary Brundell of Brundell Landscaping.

Justin Firme, representing Exterior Designs, has experience in designing gardens and his presence adds to the mix of skills of those who gathered to coordinate the process.

The Maritime Gardens has acquired a walking bridge that will be used to transition visitors from the museum into the entrance to the gardens. The bridge will be a focal point that allows these professionals to showcase their talents.

Scottie Walberg and Dusty Johnson of Landscape Impressions have a history of creating water features in a variety of settings and are now designing a feature to enhance the gardens.

Ideas were exchanged about how to best use the beautiful and natural setting. The group assessed the property where extensive preparation has already taken place and discussed possible options for different areas. Suggestions and proposals will be coordinated during the coming weeks and a plan will be put together for early spring implementation.

Bob Brickweg of Colorful Seasons, who helped launch the project, said that this is a group of people who want to do something beneficial for the community.

According to Fred Bursch, board president of the museum, there was some good-natured bantering going on, but he said there was a real commitment to make this a special place. "These folks are obviously not afraid to step up and work hard to do just that," he said.

Anticipated opening of the garden is late spring of 2011.

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