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Claremont Rotary completes water-wise landscape project at AbilityFirst

One of the Rotary Club of Claremont’s goals this year was to identify and complete a new service project. Under the leadership of project co-chairs Charles Carpenter and Al Herrlinger, a committee was formed to research potential service projects. AbilityFirst eagerly embraced Rotary’s offer to help.

AbilityFirst in Claremont provides programs for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. The center features activity rooms, a computer lab, a specialized learning lab, an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor play area. A Claremont Rotary project in 1988 at the facility had included the installation of a children’s landscaped play area. Nearly 26 years later, the landscaping was overly mature and the irrigation system was not water-wise.

The director shared that the center’s high water bill was a huge concern. Large and woody bushes in the children’s play area, which were too near the sidewalk, was also as a safety concern as children often received scratches from the bushes as they rode past on their tricycles.

In addition, since little landscaping remained at the front entrance to the building, the director asked for help in restoring the area to create a warm and inviting welcome to students and visitors.  

When the committee recommended improving the landscaping in both the children’s play area and at the building entrance, it also recommended modifying the irrigation system by changing from sprinkler to drip.

While approximately four dozen new plants for the landscape project were donated by a local landscaping firm, the club’s small budget for this project would cover the cost of the drip line. Mulch for ground cover is offered for free by the city of Claremont.

At 8:30 a.m., Claremont Rotarians showed up to work. Joining in the fun was a representative from the Rotaract Club at The Claremont Colleges.  Rotary’s exchange student from Germany, Philippe Schicker, who attends Claremont High School, also showed up to work.  In the end, some 31 Rotarians contributed to the project’s success.

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