HCG.D.8.6.12_0675sThe abundant plots of vegetables and flowers of the Hopatcong Community Garden served a lovely backdrop for the dedication ceremony that took place Sunday, August 5. A crowd of, friends, relatives, dignitaries and the community of gardeners gathered to celebrate the vision of the late Alice King, who initiated Hopatcong Community Garden project in April of last year.
Alice’s dream was not extinguished despite her untimely and tragic death in October of last year. Her family, friends and neighbors were determined to continue her plan. “This garden is like a phoenix from the ashes.” said Mrs. Jane King, Alice’s mother, “This glorious garden came out of a tragic event and has provided a tremendous comfort to Bill and the boys”
The president of the Hopatcong Community Garden, Jennifer Barone,  started the ceremony, acknowledging the many donors and benefactors that allowed the dream of the garden to become a reality. Mayor Sylvia Petillo spoke about the genesis of the garden, the enthusiasm of the community for the project and how so many of those that were gathered that day joined in the effort with their energy and dedication.
The Dolan Family, Sean, 4, Cheyenne, 2, and mom, Heidi, with David King, Alice King’s brother.

Hopatcong Community Garden President, Jennifer Barone starts the ceremony.
Mayor Petillo: “The evening that Alice King attended our Council meeting and expressed her desire to build a garden in Hopatcong, a passion for this project was born. Her excitement and enthusiasm was contagious. She made it sound so simple and practical that Councilman Michael Francis actually started looking for a piece of property that would be suitable for a garden….

Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo addresses the gardeners.
Once the site [for the garden] was secured, Sharon Gruber’s determination to be up and running by April 1st started everything into motion. Sharon directed her time and efforts organizing community members that were interested in the garden, planning meetings and fundraisers. She reached out to the Hudson Farms Foundation. They offered to fund and construct the garden, meanwhile Vito Castoro of Sign Art Graphics was busy designing the signs and Alex Frado, an Eagle Scout, proposed building a shed for the garden as his Eagle Scout Project


Sharon Gruber and Jennifer Barone present a framed  plaque to Steve Polanish, thanking the Hudson Farm Foundation for their support of the Hopatcong Community Garden.
Now, here we are today, looking at a beautiful community garden filled with fresh vegetables and flowers, set in a lovely location that is the talk of the town. All of this started with a passion and a vision from a young lady named Alice King and a determined Sharon Gruber to make it all come true.

Alice King's parents, Bob and Jane and brother, David.
I want to thank the King Family for their support of this project. The road sign at the entrance makes a clear statement that the community garden is in tribute to their wonderful daughter, Alice. I would also like to thank the Environmental Comission and especially Sharon Gruber who carried the torch and brought this project to completion. Now the torch has been handed to the president of the garden Jennifer Barone and vice president Michael Flippen. I know they will make the garden a continued success.”
The dedication ceremony was followed by a luncheon provided by the gardeners from the bounty of their summer harvest.



Jennifer Barone chatting with Mrs. Jane King.


Sharon Gruber demonstrates to David King how stevia leaf can be used as a natural sugar-free sweetener.


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