Blue Star Gardens to Get Makeover

An artist’s rendering of renovations to be done at Blue Star Garden. Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC N.Y.— The Lake Mahopac Garden Club is working with the town and its Recreation and Parks Department to help renovate a mini-park in Mahopac that includes a monument dedicated to the armed forces.

Located at the corner of Mount Hope Road and Route 6, the park is commonly referred to as Blue Star Gardens. It was built in 1983 as a 50th anniversary project for the club, and is now in dire need of a facelift.

The original design of the mini-park was done by David Katz of Whispering Pine Garden Center in Mahopac; the nursery and landscaping business will also be at the helm for the proposed renovations.

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Recreation and Parks Director Jim Gilchrist and Garden Club President Lois Chanofsky went before the Town Board last week to present the project.

“The town’s Beautification Committee has been going after small projects throughout the town and as the Garden Club is looking to turn their parks and gardens into something that is more maintenance-free,” Gilchrist said. “The question is how can we do it so it’s not a drain on the maintenance crew. One way is with drought-resistant plants.”

Gilchrist said renovating the Blue Star Garden is a discussion that has been going on for three or four years and is finally coming to fruition.

Chanofsky said the Garden Club looks after four different gardens throughout the town—two at the library, one near Crossroads Deli at the junction of routes 6 and 6N, and Blue Star. She said the club has recognized for a while that Blue Star needed some attention.

“We have been noticing it and been mentioning it to the town for a while and last year they agreed to put money in the budget and we went out and got bids on it,” she said.

The Garden Club went to seven different landscapers and Whispering Pine had the best price.

Gilchrist pointed out that the original cost of creating the mini-park in 1983 was $5,334; Whispering Pine will do the renovations for $6,500.

Gilchrist said that while there was some money in the town budget to cover the costs, it was about $1,300 short. But Supervisor Ken Schmitt said the problem would be remedied. He said town comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell would make a recommendation for a budget transfer that will provide the remaining funds.

“It’s a great project—something that is sorely needed,” Schmitt said. “It’s a highly traveled area and I think people are appreciative of it and understand why it’s there.”

The work will consist of removing the three existing benches, which are rotting, and replacing them with new benches made from pressure-treated lumber. All soil and debris will be excavated as needed, and some of the plants and foliage will be torn out as well, with a few exceptions. Workers will prune out the dead branches on the lower part of the park’s primary tree. A barrier bed will be created that follows the street-side benches using pea gravel that curves into the drainage area. New plantings will include two dwarf spirea (flowering shrubs that form mounds) and two red knockout roses. (Introduced in 2000, the knockout rose quickly became the best-selling landscape plant in the country. It has showy, continuous blooms; compact growth habit; a tough constitution; and no need to spray for black spot disease, falling in line with the Garden Club’s goal of having a low-maintenance garden.)

“There is no source of water there,” Chanofsky said. “We have to bring water there every week, so we wanted plants that don’t need a lot of water.”

Schmitt said he was pleased that Whispering Pine would be doing the renovation work on the park.

“They are very community-orientated and I am sure they’ll do a great job,” he said.

Gilchrist said the goal is to begin the project in the next few weeks and have it done by the end of the summer.

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