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City healing garden is making progress; Restful location for cancer patients.

Byline: John J. Monahan

BOSTON - Plans to build a peace and healing garden for use by cancer patients, survivors and their families on a small piece of state parkland along the Blackstone River in Worcester are advancing now that legislation to create the garden has been enacted.

State Rep. John P. Fresolo, D-Worcester, said that since the bill he sponsored to establish the garden was signed by the governor last month he has met with officials from St. Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial Health Care, which are helping to sponsor the project.

"We had a good meeting and we agreed to meet again in October ... we all left the meeting with several things to accomplish," he said of the public and private efforts behind the plan.

Mr. Fresolo said the property is included with a number of parcels currently controlled by the state Highway Department that are slated to be turned over to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation with completion of the Route 146 widening project. The park will be located on about a quarter acre of wooded state land adjacent to the Blackstone River Bikeway parking lot at the intersection of Cliff Street and Millbury Street.

The representative, who has been working on the plans since last year, said funds for the project will be raised privately; DCR officials will begin developing a layout for the garden. He hopes ground will be broken in the spring and the garden will be ready for use by next fall.

Mr. Fresolo said the garden is being planned as a place where people undergoing cancer treatment, who have survived cancer, or families that may have lost someone to cancer will be able to rest quietly in a natural setting.

"It should be simple and small in size, with some plantings and two or three benches," Mr. Fresolo said, adding that the river is close enough to the proposed garden site that you can hear the rushing water of the river and that should add to the tranquil setting.

He expects memorials to individual cancer victims may be incorporated into the plan as well, possibly though donations for bricks or benches at the park.

Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, sponsored the legislation for the park in the Senate.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 16, 2009
Words:377
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