WESTFIELD The Children's Museum in Amelia Park celebrated Free Fun Fridays on Aug. 3 with the grand opening of the Picnic Grove.
Joining patrons at the ribbon cutting was Representative Donald Humason Jr., State Rep., Mayor Daniel M. Knapik, Karen Rubin, executive director of the museum, and volunteers from the Westfield Home Depot, who helped organize and build the project.
"It was a great turnout," Diana McLean, president of the Board of Directors for Community Development in Westfield, said. "I would say we reached museum capacity about 10:45 a.m."
McLean continued, "We used it [Free Fun Fridays] as an opportunity to thank the Westfield Home Depot. They did a phenomenal job. They really were passionate about the project."
Michele Minniear, store manager of the Westfield Home Depot, explained how the project came about, "In February, I was contacted by Carrie Callan, vice president of the MOMS Club for Westfield, Agawam, Southwick and West Springfield.
"She explained the Children's Museum had no area to sit and eat lunch, so she asked if we could donate some picnic tables. I applied for a grant through the Home Depot Foundation, and it was approved," Minniear added.
However, Minniear and her store provided more than just picnic tables. The completed Picnic Grove has two 10' by 20' pergolas built "from scratch," a fence and new landscaping that includes mulch and plants.
"It was a lot more than she [Callan] asked for, but we were happy to do it," Minniear said.
Overall, the project was the combined effort of more than 30 Home Depot volunteers, the Westfield Department of Public Works and the local Girls Scout troopß.
"The Girl Scouts were amazing," Minniear stated. "They did the weeding and put down the mulch, as well as planting the plants.
"The Department of Public Works who was wonderful moved the Santa House and removed the dirt that was cleared for the area."
Minniear also said, "As Home Depot, we don't want to be perceived as 'big box. We want to be considered as part of the community. We're all from Westfield [referring to the store's employees]."
Minniear touted, "My assistant managers are great and due diligent. [When approached with a project] they think 'maybe we can do more with this.' We're always looking for more projects."
For more information about the Amelia Park Children's Museum, visit www.ameliaparkmuseum.org. For more information about Home Depot, visit www.homedepot.com.
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