The Bulloch Council of Garden Clubs held a bench dedication service at Edgewood Park to celebrate the donation and placement of a bench to the revitalized neighborhood park just off Gentilly Road near Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
On hand for the dedication ceremony were members of the five Bulloch County Garden Clubs, city representatives and Edgewood residents.
After opening remarks from Sandra Williams, president of the Bulloch Council of Garden Clubs, Janet Burke, Garden Clubs chaplain, prayed, “We are here today as witness that man can work with you, our Creator, to make our earth more beautiful. We ask that you bless our efforts and make this bench serve as a resting place for some weary person.”
John Riggs, City Council District 4 representative, pointed over his shoulder as he stood at the podium.
“I grew up 4 yards over from here, and I played every sport right here where we’re standing,” he said. “This is a place where families like to come; people like to bring their children.”
Riggs thanked the Garden Club members for being good citizens and contributing to the beauty of Edgewood Park.
Superintendent of Streets and Parks Robert Seamans gave a brief history of the park and pointed out that it was first created back in the 1940s, when Rockwell Industries initiated the growth of the neighborhood to serve some of its employees. With a need for dirt as part of the building project, a pond was created and green space set aside for the neighborhood, called Rockwell Park on the original plat.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the city agreed to help with the maintenance of the park, and about five years ago, revitalization efforts began to add a sidewalk, swings and benches to the park.
“Thanks to groups like y’all, we’re able to do these projects for the citizens and all who venture into our city,” Seamans said.
Seamans referenced an eventual bridge and more walkway to the park and said, “Hold on tight, though. We’re not finished with history yet. There’s more to come.”
Hilda Rushing reminded those in attendance that the first garden club in America was started in Athens, Georgia, in 1891, by 12 ladies who had an interest in horticulture. The non-profit, volunteer service organizations have carried out beautification, conservation and education projects across the country since that time.
“Beautification was one of the first projects of garden clubs,” Rushing said.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Burke closed with a pertinent benediction that said in part: “As a resplendent tiger lily perpetuates its kind with a small, ebony seed tucked under each leaf, go and spread your love to others. May your day be as smooth as a mountain rock; may your week be as uncomplicated as the path of a hummingbird, and may your life have the impact of a rare Georgia Elliottia Plume.”