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Wagner Farms' Long-term Plans Shaping Up

Architect presents proposals as Township Committee mulls barn replacement.

Landscape architect Don Farnell, of Gillete, said he had been working with the members of the Wagner Farms Arboretum on plans for the grounds there, when the discussions began to change a little.

"What started as discussions about a native garden morphed into discussions about, 'Maybe we'd like to do this,' 'the parking doesn't work right on Brite Nites,' and maybe we could do this and maybe we could that," Farnell said at the Oct. 27 Township Committee meeting. "So I suggested maybe the way to go here was to develop a master plan that looked at a long-range vision for the property."

The long-range plan Farnell developed takes advantage of some of the sites' existing features—including building around the "magnificent shag bark hickory" tree that Farnell said adds a three-dimensional form to the site in conjunction with the two silos.

Consequently, Farnell's plan adds features such as a picnic area, special events area, and demonstration garden in the area behind the garage. The plan suggests building a trellis and a pavillion, as well as a birch-lined walkway delineating the rear corner of the children's garden.

The pavillion was envisioned as an area "where an event could happen, a wedding could happen—any kind of activity you want," he said.

Crucial to the plan, Farnell said, was the flexibility offered in bringing the plan to fruition.

"This is a large area and it's intended to be done over time," he said.

The Arboretum could use a demonstration garden to grow seedlings for the birch trees used to adorn the area, as well as other plants for landscaping, while also offering educational opportunities for students.

Farnell also recommended creating reinforced driving areas for access to the Community Garden and entrance, but create larger grassy parking areas for big events, like Brite Nites.

The committee also discussed the township's plans for the demolition and rebuilding of the barn at the site. According to Deputy Mayor Carolann Garafola, the township will receive $336,000 in an insurance settlement for damage to the barn which requires its demolition. The committee has been discussing how to use the funds, including possibly hiring an architect to design a structure within the budget and including costs for a septic system, washrooms, and possibly air conditioning.

Mayor Gary DiNardo suggested the township instead solicit proposals from architects to see what it would cost, but Committeeman Vic Sordillo took it a step further to solicit proposals for a building envelope which could also be finished or added to later as donations or funding becomes available.

"You do what you can—what he is saying is maximize the structure so that later you can come back and do those things that maybe you cannot do up front," Committeeman Mal Plager added.

Garafola also reiterated the township could also use some of the approximately $1.5 million in the open space fund for improvements.

Heather Trumpore November 12, 2011 at 01:21 AM
After spending much time at the arboretum this summer at my son's Eagle project and others, I look forward to the future plans. It is a wonderful Warren asset with lots of terrific and dedicated volunteers.

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