Rotary donation helps Monroe library with garden project

‘Dismal’ state of its landscaping drew the club’s attention

The township’s Sunrise Rotary donated $10,000 to the Monroe library to help clean up its raised flower beds, a “thank you” to the library for hosting club meetings.

The Monroe Township library has received $10,000 from the Williamstown Sunrise Rotary to help with an outdoor beautification project.

“The main driver behind the project was that the library has been kind enough to let the Rotary meet there once a week on Wednesday before library hours,” said Dave Debreceni, president of the Williamstown Sunrise Rotary. 

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“While being there, we were always looking for things that are beneficial community items,” he added. “One of the things that came up was the landscaping in front of the library and the dismal state of it … We gave the library full autonomy over how they wanted it to look; it’s their front.” 

Before the pandemic, the Rotary met regularly at the library, until the latter’s director died.  When COVID hit, the group began virtual sessions. As the pandemic eased, a few Rotary members got together at a local diner to plan the return of in-person meetings. In September of 2021, they asked library director Samantha Snyder to again host meetings, and requested she  become part of the organization.

“I was happy to have them back,” Snyder said in an email. “During COVID, the library garden beds became overgrown with weeds, trees, trash and debris … Because of COVID delays and closures, the landscaping project became very large and expensive, and the library board members were trying to figure out a way to fit such a large project into the library’s budget.”

When the Rotary learned about the landscaping’s high cost, members were eager to do what they do best — help the community. The word spread about the donation in May of 2021, and it took until the end of July and early August for the library to choose a contractor, Joseph’s Landscaping located in Williamstown.

“We have been working on the redo of the raised garden for a year or two now,” said library  Board President Joann Betterly. “The Rotary came along last year, and we had already taken care of the preparation work and the sprinkler system and were moving on to the landscaping.”

The raised beds are now cleaned and have small bushes with plenty of room to grow. Since everything was planted in September – and the previous beds were covered with weeds –  some growth has started to poke through the new soil. According to Debreceni, the landscaper will keep the beds clean and plant flowers in the spring.

“We were grateful for the donation,” Betterly noted. “They made all the arrangements and they saved the library a bundle of money that we can use for other projects.” 


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