Garden To Be Monument to Girls’ Achievements

A garden featuring walking paths and quiet places to sit is planned for Brooke Place – a facility that serves as a temporary home for teenage girls.

Family Connections recently announced its plan to develop the property on Tent Church Road in Colliers by adding the “honor garden” to Brooke Place’s spacious, woodsy grounds.

The garden, which will encompass nature walks, plantings, seating and quiet spaces, is in recognition of the girls’ accomplishments. A cornerstone of the plan was achieved September 2008 when the Evelyn C. Rapp Pavilion was dedicated.

The pavilion was made possible by contributions in money, talent and time – much of it from the local community.

Family Connections also is announcing a new collaboration. Assistant professors Peter Butler and Ashley Kyber of the Department of Landscape Architecture at West Virginia University. They visited Brooke Place June 9 and are excited about the opportunity to work with officials in developing a landscape design for the honor garden.

About 30 second-year students in site design studio and planting design courses will be developing conceptual plans for the property during the spring semester 2010.

Visiting the site and discussing the wants and needs of both the staff and residents will provide a basis for students to begin their designs. Also, inventory of vegetation, hydrology, soils and other existing conditions on the site will inform their design process. From the teaching perspective, concepts including therapeutic gardening, passive and active recreation, healthy lifestyles and edible gardens will be explored; as well as developing environment-based curriculum on the site that would delve into micro-climate, vegetative and biological communities with the goal of long term management strategies for biodiversity.

Family Connections operates as a licensed and accredited, non-profit child care agency and behavioral health center. The agency provides residential treatment services for up to 12 teenage girls at its Brooke Place facility in Colliers, and provides out-patient counseling services at its Weirton Medical Center location. It receives funding from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurances, self-pay and contributions.