From the Memorial Park Conservancy:
November 13, 2020
The Maplewood Memorial Park Conservancy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Maplewood Post 10120 VFW at the restored Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Memorial Park on Veterans Day, November 11.
The restoration of the landscaping around the monument and seating area was undertaken by the Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and improvement of the historic park. Plantings were installed by Conservancy volunteers under the direction of landscape designer Jennifer Ryan, and planting material was generously funded by the Maplewood VFW, with other donations from the Conservancy and the Maplewood Garden Club.
The seating area and monument under the pines at the corner of Baker and Valley was created by former Maplewood Parks and Shade Trees supervisor Todd Lamm in 2011, as a tribute to the Maplewoodians who served, as did he, in the Vietnam War, and particularly four who gave their lives—Robert W. Andreasen, Russell H. Cornish, Michael J. Lawrence, and Gregory J. McIntyre.
Since that time, the landscaping around the area had declined, and in the summer of 2018 Jennifer Ryan lead Conservancy interns Greta Donato, Hyun Kyung Kim, and Abdullah Nasir in a design project to restore and enhance the area with a mix of trees, flowering shrubs, and hardy perennials. After the project was approved by the local Historic Preservation Commission and the NJ Historic Preservation Office, B. John Kaufman and the members of the Maplewood VFW Post stepped up to support it.
The Maplewood DPW prepared the site, brought in the heavy equipment, and contributed the soil amendments and a tree Conservancy volunteers Lara Tomlin, David Nial, Gary Nelson, Deborah Lyons, Shannon Perry, Karen Shelby, and Scott Cooper installed Ryan’s design, just in time for the Veterans Day ceremony.
Conservancy chair Deborah Lyons noted that Jennifer Ryan not only lead the design team but also coordinated all the details of the project, including sourcing and transporting the plants and coordinating approvals. Ryan also designed the Conservancy’s Flagpole Hill re-landscaping project, which was based on original plans from 1923.
Lyons added, “We are fortunate to be able to work with Jennifer, and with the Township, the DPW, and with other community groups such as the Maplewood VFW and Garden Club to improve our beloved and historic park.”
To find out more about the Maplewood Memorial Park Conservancy, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or get information, sign up to donate or volunteer by visiting their website at www.maplewoodmemorialparkconservancy.org.