MSP, Mairi Gougeon has officially opened the Stonehaven Market Square Community Garden.
Despite the typical autumn weather of ever increasing rain at yesterday’s event (Friday October 29), the local people involved with the project gathered to celebrate their achievement.
Project coordinator Dawn Black of the Stonehaven Business Association led the proceedings with a speech outlining the long road travelled from concept to completion before giving thanks to all involved.
She said: “We would not have been able to create the garden without the two funding streams so many thanks to the Phoenix Fund and the Scottish Government Town Centres Fund for seeing the potential in this project and giving us the money!
”To Nikki Ritchie of Hyve Architects for her amazing design inspired by the curves and flow of swinging Fireballs. She has always been there to support me and the project with advice throughout the process and volunteered her time free of charge to give back to the community of Stonehaven. Thank you!”
Dawn also thanked the Stonehaven Town Partnership, which agreed to take on the lease for the land from the council, which was part of the project’s funding conditions. She noted the trustees Jim Stephen and Jim Douglas, and thanked the taking on this commitment for the town.
And the roles played by Aberdeenshire Council project officer Diane Henderson and Area Manger Bruce Stewart who helped steer the course throughout was also highlighted.
Quality of workmanship commended
Dawn added: ”But I think the biggest thanks need to go to the guys of Bridgefield Services led by Grieg Walker and Hutchison Plant Services for the quality of the work they have done.
”The groundworks, the building of the planters and benches, the installation and I also want to specifically mention Ally Dawson for his dogged determination in the building of the planters – I know your heart and soul went into these!
”You have all done an amazing job and given the town a garden to enjoy for years to come so thank you all.
”The planters were lovingly filled by a small crew of the Horizon volunteers who always do such a wonderful job of keeping our town looking bright and welcoming. You covered many miles to source the correct plants and your choices are spot on and in the spirit of the garden design thinking of the colours of the Fireballs. A triumph I think! So to Jane and John who unfortunately are self isolating so couldn’t be here today, along with Kath, Linda and David, thank you.”
Other local contributions noted were Ian Wood of Creative Core who designed the logo and produced the plaques at extreme short notice. And the Unionist Club were thanked for supporting the upgrade this area – and all the nearby business and residents for putting up with the disruption during the build.
Dawn went on to say that it had been, “gratifying to see our locals and visitors enjoying the new seating and planting since the barriers came down a few weeks ago, and also to be able to see the historic Barrie granite fountain more prominently is an added bonus. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback and are very happy to have seen this project through to provide Stonehaven town centre with a new civic space, a place to pause, a place to connect, a place to enjoy.”
This project has very much been a collaboration between many of the local community groups alongside local businesses and the Kincardine and Mearns Area Office of Aberdeenshire Council. It shows what can be done when everyone comes together to work on a common goal and as Dawn said in her speech, “Let’s do more of that!”
Suffice to say, despite the wet conditions, community spirit was alive and kicking in Stonehaven yesterday!
Those that made it happen L-R (-ish!):
Ian Wood of Creative Core – logo & plaques
Bill Allen of Men’s Shed & Unionist Club
Jim Douglas & Jim Stephen of Stonehaven Town Partnership – land lease
Alistair Dawson & Hutchison Plant Services – planters & benches
Greig Walker & his guys at Bridgefield Services – groundworks and installation
Nikki Ritchie of Hyve Architects – design
Dawn Black – Stonehaven Business Association – Funding application and project co-ordinator
(Mairi Gougeon MSP)
Horizon Project volunteers – planting