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Elizabeth Park Seeks To Repair Rose Garden's Signature Arches, Damaged In October Snowstorm

Amanda Falcone

January 11, 2012

For more than 100 years, rambler roses clung to the original ir

on great arches in the rose garden at Elizabeth Park.

Today, all eight great arches are misshapen or broken. The roses lie on the ground.

The park's signature arches were crushed under the weight of snow from the unusual October snowstorm, and it will cost $35,000 to restore them, said Karen Tomasko, executive director of the Friends of Elizabeth Park.

"It was a very devastating storm to the park," she said.

Tomasko said that when she learned about the damage, she called the park's rose expert, Marci Martin of Windsor. Streets blocked by storm debris prevented Martin from getting to the park until a few days after the storm.

"When I walked in here, my jaw hit the ground," Martin said as she surveyed the now snow-less rose garden Monday.

The cleanup began quickly. The dormant rose vines were carefully removed from the iron supports and placed on the ground, and Joe Bazzano, owner of J. Bazzano Co., a Barkhamsted fencing company, and his workers are trying to figure out how to craft new arches and attach them to the existing cedar posts in the same fashion as the original.

Restoring the arches to their original form is required because Elizabeth Park, which is owned by the city of Hartford, is on the National Register of Historical Places, Tomasko said.

As for the roses, they will be fine and are expected to bloom again in June even if the new arches don't go up before more snow falls, Martin said. It would just be easier for all if the arches are restored soon, she said.

Bazzano said the contract for the work has been signed, and he said he hopes to start the project over the next few weeks.

The Friends of Elizabeth Park group has raised about two-thirds of the money needed to restore the arches, but needs more help to complete the project, she said. To donate, send checks payable to Friends of Elizabeth Park to Friends of Elizabeth Park, P.O. Box 370361, West Hartford, CT 06137.

"There's been an incredible response because of the historical aspect," Tomasko said, explaining that many people have personal connections to the park. Many weddings are held in the rose garden, for example, she said.

Tomasko described the damage to the arches as an unplanned expense and says it has forced her organization to reorganize its priorities. Before the storm, the friends group wanted to replace an aging water system, but now it must repair the storm damage, Tomasko said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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