Scotch Plains Fanwood Boy Scout Completes Eagle Project Creating Raised Gardens at Westfield Senior Housing – TAPinto.net

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD and WESTFIELD, NJ — Residents at Westfield Senior Citizens Housing have received two new raised gardens for spring planting as part of an Eagle Scout project at the housing complex.

The gardens were planned and built by Conor Reilly, a scout in Troop 104 from Scotch Plains, who is working toward his Eagle Scout rank. He handed over the finished gardens in late May.

Elizabeth Fennik, executive director of Westfield Senior housing, cut the ribbon to open the gardens, along with Randi Kass, the facility’s activities director, and residents Chris Samuel, Marie Greco, Rhonda Ricco, and Lorraine Ciuba. They and other residents will use the gardens in coming months to plant a variety of plants and vegetables.

“The completion of the raised garden beds will have a long-lasting positive effect for our seniors and on aging,” said Fennik. “Gardening is good exercise; it provides a purpose in life as well as a sense of achievement. What a wonderful opportunity it provides to socialize and connect with others as the gardens blossom over time.”

“We are delighted that Conor selected Westfield Senior Citizens Housing for his Eagle Scout project,” she added.

The new gardens add 51 square feet of raised planting space. They were constructed with accessibility in mind, to provide an easier way for older residents to garden. The gardens consist of one, L-shaped standing-height garden and another rectangular garden that is accessible to those in wheelchairs or mobility devices.

The gardens are located behind Building 1 at 1133 Boynton Ave., a 172-unit complex for low-income seniors. The gardens complement an array of ground-level gardens, a greenhouse and an existing raised garden used by residents.

The new gardens were built over a month-long period by Reilly, fellow scouts from his Troop, family, and friends. In addition, the scouts created a crushed-stone walkway, so residents can access the gardens from all sides. Reilly also donated two sets of adaptive gardening tools for the residents to use.

Funding for the gardens was provided by donations that Reilly raised as part of his project.

“I hope these gardens will provide an opportunity for more residents to get outside and be active in their community,” said Reilly, a junior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. “I would also like to thank all the volunteers who generously gave their time and Westfield Senior Housing for its help in the project.”

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