Before long, Fairfield Crest Park will have a rain garden designed to help the environment and serve as a habitat for wildlife.
The plot, which is located at the bottom of a hill next to the tennis court, is being developed by 17-year-old Adam Deutsch as part of his Eagle Scout project. Deustch said it will be both aesthetically attractive and useful.
“It’s a habitat garden and will drain this area when it gets pretty wet, so with the plants, hopefully it will suck up most of the moisture,” Deutsch said.
Tom Zaleski, parks superintendent with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the area where the garden is being placed is frequently damp.
“It’s an area that was constantly wet, difficult to mow,” Zaleski said.
The garden will help absorb rainwater, making the park easier to maintain. In addition, it will prevent some pollutants from getting into ground water, keeping that water – which eventually becomes drinking water – ¬¬cleaner.
Tom Fruehstorfer, a member of the city’s Conservation Advisory Commission, said the garden will also benefit wildlife in the area.
“ It’s going to be called a certified backyard habitat, and the city’s currently trying to become, as a city, certified as a backyard habitat city,” Fruehstorfer said.
While searching for an Eagle Scout project, Deutsch spoke to Zaleski, who suggested he put together a garden at Fairfield Crest and referred him to the Delaware Nature Society. Zaleski said the park off of New London Road is one of several places he has been watching in hopes of eventually doing something to make it easier to take care of.
Working with both the parks department and the Delaware Nature Society, Deutsch was able to finalize plans to put in a garden in Fairfield Crest. After planning for about a month, Deustch began working recently.
“It’s probably like the second work day,” Deutsch said on Sunday. “The first time I came here and I tilled and laid compost down. Now we’re here, we’re planting.”
On Sunday, Deutsch worked alongside with his father, Mike, and Fruehstorfer to plant flowers.
He plans to lay down the mulch this weekend and finish planting if needed. After that, Deutsch expects only the paperwork will remain before the garden is complete.
Deutsch said the city supplied mulch and compost. As for the plants, Deutsch was able to raise funds to purchase some foliage from Home Depot, while North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, Pa., donated approximately 250 flowers. Fruehstorfer said because the garden will be used to support wildlife, the flowers are all native.
For his work, Deutsch is expected to be nominated for the Better Newark Award, which is given out by the Conservation Advisory Commission, Fruehstorfer said.
“It’d mean a lot because obviously I’ve put a lot of work into this and finally to pay off, it’d be nice,” Deutsch said.