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New Gardens To Transform Downtown Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – The two gardens located on the east side of Westport's Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge on Post Road East are about to receive a serious makeover, thanks to members of The LaurelRock Co . in Wilton.

As part of LaurelRock's 35th anniversary, which was founded in Westport as Dickson DeMarche Landscape Architects, the company is donating its award-winning design/installation services to transform the area into the new Gateway Gardens. The company is working with the Westport Beautification Committee and the Downtown Merchants Association .

"We can't think of a better way to celebrate our 35th anniversary than to return to our roots and give back to the community that helped launch our business," LaurelRock founder Dickson DeMarche said in a statement. "We are honored to be a part of Westport's history and, now, its future."

Leading the project, which is valued at $35,000, is Landscape Designer Brian Westermeyer. Currently, both gardens include a few trees and flowers, but they are mostly filled by overgrown bushes and weeds.

Westermeyer said the new Gateway Gardens will feature a mix of colorful perennials, ornamental grasses and evergreen ground cover and hedges. The design, he said, will also incorporate the existing trees and many of the existing plants that are in good condition.

Each garden will also feature 17 granite pillars varying in height from 1 to 4 feet. "I really wanted this to be more of a sculptural, well-defined space and not just a garden space," Westermeyer said. "The pillars add more depth and make the gardens interesting all year round."

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Tuesday, and work is expected to begin next week. Westermeyer said the new gardens should be complete by July 17, in time for the Downtown Merchant Association's Fine Arts Festival.

Angela Trucks, co-chairwoman of the Beautification Committee, said these gardens have long been in need of some tender loving care. "This area is an important gateway to town," Trucks said. "You cannot discount what it does to someone's psyche to drive through town and see that. No one wants to see disheveled gardens."

For Bob LeRose, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, the greening and beautifying of downtown is one of many steps that will make visiting downtown even more enjoyable. "That's what we want," said LeRose. "We don't want anyone walking away with anything negative to say."

What do you think of the new design for these gardens? Do you think the redesign is long overdue? Please share with us below!

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