On Friday, May 20th, Monroe College, LAZ Parking and Hudson Park Children Greenhouse Committee members trimmed bushes, picked up broken glass, raked leaves, cleaned out a fish pond and pulled down vines which shrouded the former municipal greenhouses at Hudson Park in New Rochelle, NY. Monroe College students, under the direction of Kathryn MacDonald, Chair of the Monroe College Honors Program, cheerfully wielded rakes and shovels.
The Senior Director of Operations at LAZ Parking, Charles Campbell, and Lance Longno, the Senior Director of Operations, and staff, demonstrated the commitment of the corporation to charity. On their website, LAZ Parking states their charitable foundations mission is “To contribute time and financial resources to charitable organizations that make a positive difference in people’s lives.” Frank Buddingh of Buddingh Tree Consultancy donated his time and talents in trimming and pruning neglected plantings.
These three groups assisted the new non-profit organization, Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse, Inc. to clean the exterior of the newly renamed Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse in New Rochelle’s Hudson Park. This facility is composed of two greenhouses, joined by a link building, and was built in the early 20th century. These Lord & Burnham historic greenhouses provided plants and flowers for the New Rochelle Parks Department to use in the parks, gardens and plantings that beautified the city for decades.
Through the 100 year history, the greenhouses have been operated by the city of New Rochelle, Wildcliff Nature Center and Friends of Wildcliff Greenhouse. Friends of Wildcliff Greenhouse ran horticultural planting programs and grew plants for sale for 27 years, including Therapeutic Horticultural programs for children with developmental disabilities. Due to budgetary issues and needed maintenance and repairs, the greenhouse was closed in 2009.
In 2015, Millie Radonjic-Ilich formed the Hudson Park Children’s Greenhouse (HPCG) Inc., a 501-c-3 non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the greenhouse. The group will use the restored greenhouse to provide age-appropriate, hands-on educational gardening experiences in a safe, energy efficient and environmentally sound setting.
The group is composed of thirty members, including professional tradesmen, willing to donate their labor to the project. The group is operating with the support of Mayor Bramson and the City of New Rochelle Department of Public Works and Department of Parks & Recreation. The group recently hosted a successful fundraising gala at Dubrovnik Restaurant on Main Street in New Rochelle, New York.