Planting set for Foreman garden at Handley Library
Winchester — The Mike Foreman Rotary Reading Garden is nearly ready to start making its contributions to the Handley Library experience.
The garden named in honor of the late Michael M. Foreman, who was the longtime clerk of the Winchester Circuit Court, will soon be finished and provide a community green space, a place for programs, or a quiet place to relax, library director Trish Ridgeway said.
A grand opening will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the garden on the Braddock Street side of the library next to Fairfax Lane. The event is free and open to the public.
“I hope it will be a place where we can have fun with programs and story times,” she said. “I hope it’s a place mothers can come and sit and let their children enjoy the garden as well as a place to sit and read.”
After the ceremony, light refreshments will be served. The rain date is at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26.
The library will have a Planting Day at 4 p.m. Wednesday with employees from Lowe’s in Winchester as well as interested children and adults in the community planting in the garden, Ridgeway said.
Sept. 11 is designated as a national day of service and remembrance, and both adults and children are invited to assist with the installation of perennials, bulbs and shrubs, she said.
All volunteers are asked to bring gardening gloves.
Foreman, 71, died Oct. 30 at the Winchester Medical Center after a short illness.
Born and raised in Winchester, he returned home after college to build a life and a legacy. He was a teacher and assistant principal at Handley High School and supervisor for the Winchester Public Schools before being appointed clerk of the Winchester Circuit Court, a position he held 28 years through three elections.
The project, conceived as part of the library’s centennial celebrations, was funded with donations and fundraising, particularly from Lowe’s Community Foundation and the Winchester Rotary Club, who made the library the recipient of its 2013 Kaleidoscope fundraiser earlier this year.
The donation of about $40,000 was made in honor of Foreman, a club member, and a strong library supporter, Ridgeway said.
The money went toward the sign designating it as a Mike Foreman Rotary Reading Garden, a sign over the performance area, a window graphic behind the performance area, seating steps for the performance area, the chess/checkerboard, and the concrete around some of those areas, she said.
Rotary President Darla McCrary said Foreman was chosen because of his participation in club activities. She knew him for eight years and said he gave 150 percent to whatever he did.
“He was a bigger-than-life person who wrapped his arms around whatever he did,” she said.
Foreman’s family was honored the club chose to remember their loved one with the donation to the library in his name, said David Foreman, his son. “This project highlights two of my father’s passions — reading and gardening. This is a wonderful way for the community to remember him.”
The large chess board with one foot-square pavers has been installed and patrons may check out large chess and checkerboard pieces to play, she said. Members of a local chess club will come to the grand opening to help people who are interested in learning the rules of the game.
In January 2012, a sculpture and decorative stone bench in memory of Grace Albright was installed. Funds for the feature came from Ron and Linda DeShong to honor Albright, Linda’s mother. The bronze sculpture, “Innocence,” shows a young boy reading.
The family has also donated money for more benches to be installed in the garden, Ridgeway said.
— F.C. Lowe, life editor, contributed to this story.
The Mike Foreman Rotary Reading Garden will have its grand opening at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Handley Library on the Braddock Street side next to Fairfax Lane.
For more information, contact 540-662-9041 ext. 14 or go to handleyregional.org.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org.