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Alexandria Rotary Club helps Maritime Gardens

Contributed Those representing a new partnership between the Alexandria Rotary Club and the Maritime Gardens include (left to right) Tim Bush, Alexandria Rotary president; Craig Mische, Alexandria Rotary past-president; Larry Zilliox, state Rotary district governor; and Fred Bursch, representing the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum board of directors.

Planning for the "Maritime Gardens" project at Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum continues to flourish.

The Alexandria Rotary Club recently partnered with the museum to help grow the gardens into a community asset.

The club recently donated $5,000 to Maritime Gardens. In addition, the state chapter of Rotary International matched the local contribution and donated an additional $5,000 to the project.

State Rotary District Governor Larry Zilliox said, "I think the Maritime Gardens is going to be an asset to the community. With its beautiful setting, there's a lot of potential there."

The local Rotary Club's kindness doesn't stop with monetary generosity. Rotary members will also go hands-on and donate sweat equity to the Maritime Gardens by helping install paver blocks and lending a hand in building a picnic shelter.

The picnic shelter is expected to be a popular attraction at the Maritime Gardens. Visitors will be welcome to gather for a picnic or sit and soak up some sun or enjoy the shade.

"Service above self is the motto of Rotary and to get local returns like this in the community makes this a better place to live, work and play," Zilliox said.

Maritime Gardens will be located on two acres of land just north of the museum building. The space will feature a lakeside garden setting with a variety of educational plantings, walking paths, sculptures, picnic shelters, band shelter with seating and viewing benches.

Maritime Gardens will be used for many outdoor museum events but project organizers also hope the blissfully beautiful surroundings will be used by people as a place of calmness, for strolls through the gardens, and provide a bit of solace for visitors to unwind, relax and enjoy the lakeside space.

A portion of Maritime Gardens is expected to open this summer. The park will be completed in 2012.