Community asked to help finance fix of greenhouse’s broken glass panes
The Garden and Conservation Trust is seeking the public’s help to fix the damage to several glass panes at the Ballard Greenhouse in Ballard Park.
“Many windows were broken by rocks and coins,” said Tamera Galvin, secretary of the trust.
In total, 17 windows were broken for an estimated $2,000 in damages. The vandalism was discovered last week and is being investigated by Ridgefield police.
“It’s been quite a year,” said Carol Foster, president of the trust. “In the fall, terrible rot was found in the greenhouse so there was a lot of overrun costs. We’re barely squeaking by, and now this happened.”
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday, Feb. 19.
“The police believed a slingshot was used,” Foster said. “There were perfect round holes through the glass ... They found rocks and some coins, mostly quarters and I think a few nickels.”
Foster said that the vandals attacked the wall facing the park’s outdoors gardens.
“There were a few other sides with damages but the one wall that’s most concealed from observation took the brunt of the attack,” she said. “The door was damaged and there was glass everywhere. There were lightbulbs that were struck, too.”
Galvin urged residents to contact the police if they see anything suspicious in Ballard Park.
“There’s nothing stopping vandals,” Foster added. “The greenhouse has high visibility because it’s in the middle of the park.
“It’s not the first time there’s been damage to it,” she said. “It has survived having trees fall on it and, just last year, someone threw eggs at it that we had to clean up. But we’ve never seen anything like this in all the years of maintaining the building. It’s very shocking.”
The historic greenhouse was built in 1906 by Lord & Burnham. It is managed by the Garden and Conservation Trust, with members from both Ridgefield and Caudatowa garden clubs serving on the board.
“This greenhouse is a treasure to our town,” Galvin said. “For over 50 years, it has been used to educate as well as grow plants and flowers for our annual Mother’s Day plant sale. It is devastating to all of us that care so much about Ridgefield and the public spaces in town.”
The trust took over control of the greenhouse in 1967 when the Ridgefield and Caudatowa garden clubs were given use.
“We run the greenhouse entirely on contributions from the Ridgefield community,” Foster said.
Recent donors include The Lewis Fund, The Richardson Fund, Ridgefield Thrift Shop, and several private contributors.
“The community has been been so supportive and we couldn’t be more appreciative,” Foster said.
Foster said that the community can support the installation of new glass panes by sending checks to Sarah Slavic, the Garden and Conservation Trust’s treasurer, at 25R Gilbert Street, Ridgefield, CT, 06877.
Residents can also visit ballardgreenhouse.com for more information on the nonprofit organization.
Foster said the trust still plans to put on the annual plant sale this year. It’s a process that typically begins at the end of February.
“We’re going to put the new glass in and fix it up and make it ready go,” she said.