Becker Officially Opens New Gardens & Greenway

Becker Officially Opens New Gardens & Greenway

Published on: October 4, 2019


Pictured at the Oct. 4 grand opening of the Gardens & Greenway at Becker College are, from left to right, Massachusetts State Grange President George Thomas III, Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin, Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey, Becker College student Kristina Zloklikovits, who serves as chapter historian for Becker’s FFA, Worcester City Councilor Moe Bergman, and Reverend Michael Keating, a Becker College professor and the owner of Keating Enterprises Landscaping.

Pictured at the Oct. 4 grand opening of the Gardens & Greenway at Becker College are, from left to right, Massachusetts State Grange President George Thomas III, Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin, Worcester City Councilor Kate Toomey, Becker College student Kristina Zloklikovits, who serves as chapter historian for Becker’s FFA, Worcester City Councilor Moe Bergman, and Reverend Michael Keating, a Becker College professor and the owner of Keating Enterprises Landscaping.

Becker College recently held a grand opening of its Gardens & Greenway—an urban oasis located on its Worcester Campus that is the only privately owned green space on the west side of Worcester.

“It’s a true source of pride for Becker College that will serve our own community as well as our neighbors and friends,” said Becker College President Nancy P. Crimmin,Ed.D.

In 2014, Becker College purchased the former Worcester Tennis Club property at 69 Sever Street, a historic clay court venue that opened in 1907. In August 2018, through generous support from the Massachusetts State Grange, P of H, Inc., transformation of the area into a spacious garden began. Tim Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr., were instrumental in helping the College obtain material to create the foundation of the space.

“This space could not have been created without the tireless work of so many—and also their generosity,” Crimmin said. “As work continues and the Gardens & Greenway matures, this area will serve as a gathering and programming space for our campus and create a beautiful, park-like atmosphere that will be enjoyed by all.”

The Gardens & Greenway features a circular walking path spanning the garden and numerous plantings, including trees, shrubs, and a large pollinator and butterfly wildflower garden. Pollinator gardens are being established around the country to help support nature within urban communities, thereby creating a microenvironment in which pollinators like butterflies and bees can thrive.

“The garden will offer students, faculty and others a place to relax on a busy campus in a busy city,” said George E. Thomas, president of the Massachusetts State Grange, P of H, Inc. “The Grange is honored to have its name associated with the Gardens & Greenway Project as it comprises many elements of our Agricultural Education Initiative.”

Thomas noted that the gardens will offer various educational opportunities, and said he was pleased that the Becker College FFA chapter will be involved in those efforts.

“I look forward to the success of the gardens as we join with Becker College to raise the quality of life for the campus community and its surrounding community through the Gardens & Greenway Project,” he said.

Kristina Zloklikovits, Becker College Class of 2022, who serves as chapter historian for Becker’s FFA, said that the group already has plans for educational opportunities and community events such as a fall festival.

“The FFA is looking forward to the future possibilities of this space,” she said. “I think it’s so needed. It’s a place where students can come and relax. Having this green space is crucial to Becker College but also to the city. “

Councilor Kate Toomey, representing Worcester City Mayor Joseph Petty, said the city was happy to be able to play a role in the project.

“We know that green space makes a better city for all of us,” Toomey said. “We are thrilled to be a part of creating an environmental oasis in an urban setting.”

Following the remarks, the Gardens & Greenway plaque was unveiled, which will be displayed on a granite rock within the area.

Other supporters of the project include F.W. Madigan Co., and Keating Enterprises Landscaping, owned by the Reverend Michael Keating, a professor at the College. A grant from The Nathaniel Wheeler Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, went to the purchase of several trees, including cheery and dogwood, as well as hydrangeas, forsythia, and a Highbush Cranberry. In addition, the project received contributions from an anonymous foundation and a number of individual donors.