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Heritage Club Keeps on Growing

Friday, September 3, 2021
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As the Steuben County Heritage Club reaches its one-year anniversary of opening at 1905 Wohlert St., the organization is showing its dedication to growth with a new outdoor recreation center, featuring a raised garden bed for vegetables and flowers.

“It’s been long-coming,” said previous Heritage Club Director Denise Kreais. “We’ve had this in the plans as long as we’ve had the building in the plans. So two years.”

Kreais officially stepped down from her director position at the beginning of the month, but she was still front and center Saturday morning as construction began for the new outdoor center.

The space is a 576-square-foot enclosed area with fencing 7-feet high in order to keep out animals that may wander out from the nearby woods for a quick snack.

“We wanted to make sure it was enclosed to protect what we plant and a raised garden so that it was easily accessible for everybody to be able to get into without having to bend or stoop,” Kreais said.

Some members of the Heritage Club are also members of the American Horticultural Society’s Master Gardener program, and the new gardening space will provide the opportunity for club members, master gardeners and hobbyists alike, to work outside with nature.

“The ultimate goal is, anybody that is here at the Heritage Club can pick the vegetables, pick the flowers, take them home, enjoy them, use them in cooking classes here and then, ultimately, maybe have a small stand out front where they can sell their produce and flowers. That way they can continue to put back into the senior center,” Kreais said.

The Heritage Club received assistance from the youth philanthropy organization Forever Improving Steuben County Together for help with plants and materials for the garden.

Along with gratitude, Kreais expressed an excitement for the opportunities that this partnership could also open up for the young FIST members.
“One of the really great things with getting the FIST kids involved is not just from a standpoint that allows us to do this but also a standpoint where we can bring the younger kids in to teach them as well,” Kreais said. “Teaching them about growing their own vegetables and food source and working with the seniors and maybe correlating some connections there.”

Besides FIST, the Heritage Club also received assistance from members of the 101 Lakes Kiwanis of Angola, who offered to take on the project and arrived Saturday morning to begin building.

“We’ve been very blessed,” Kreais said. “I just want the community also to know, and I think for the most part they do, how important these service clubs and organizations are to us because most of the things us non-profits do wouldn’t exist without these service clubs stepping up and doing what they do.”

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