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Dilapidated Oak Hills rose garden eyed with hope

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Yvonne “Myska” Lopaur of the Friends of Oak Hills Park shows off what was once a fountain Friday behind the parking lot of the Oak Hills Restaurant on the Green.

NORWALK, Conn. – Oak Hills never promised you a rose garden, but there may be one coming anyway.

Turns out the owners of the Oak Hills Restaurant on the Green and the Friends of Oak Hills Park are on the same page, even if Oak Hills Park Authority Chairman Bob Virgulak wasn’t aware of it last week. They both see beauty in the dilapidated curving stone wall and defunct fountain behind the restaurant, and they’d like to restore it for people to enjoy.

Yvonne “Myska” Lopaur and the Friends volunteered at the May 16 OHPA meeting to pull the invasive plants out of the stone wall and plant roses there, with no cost to OHPA, Lopaur said.

Asked on Wednesday if that might happen, Virgulak said he didn’t think so.

“It was nice of them to offer but the restaurant is going to do something in that area,” he said. “If they want to plant flowers at certain spots we’ll be happy to designate where they can do it. … It certainly is not their choice where they’re going to plant, it it’s the authority’s choice.”

Lopaur went into the restaurant Friday to see what the owners of the restaurant had in mind. Vincent LaForte and Amar Haouari greeted her in a very friendly way; Laforte said they had ideas for the spot but they didn’t rent that area. Then Haouari explained what they had in mind.

“We wanted to level it off, clean it up, fix the fountain, fix the stone wall and set up beautiful flower beds for … the neighborhood just to come in and enjoy the environment,” said Haouari, who went on to add that it had been a rose garden in the past.

Lopaur was thinking of a meadow of wildflowers that golfers and non-golfers alike could enjoy; Haouari thinks maybe a farmers’ market on Sundays, with local organic food grown by people who respect the environment.

“I have plans to clean it up because nobody was taking care,” Haouari said. “I haven’t heard anything from anyone so I said, you know, that is my project. We could have like a neighborhood barbecue so people could kind of gather together. Get something a little happy going on, like a neighborhood fest or something.”

Both parties said they understood they need OHPA approval.

Lopaur said the Friends had recruited volunteers at the Norwalk Tree Festival. The Norwalk Garden Club is willing, she said.

“It’s a mess, but has a nice, elegant shape,” she said, looking at the stone wall. “I mean, everything is here. I am sure I would get people who would be involved in it. I’m sure.”

Roses can be planted in spring and fall, she said.

She said she will try again at the next OHPA meeting. She said, “I’m just going to bring it up that I spoke to the owner and we have the same plans and why can’t we start on it?”

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These invasive plants will destroy the stone wall behind the restaurant at Norwalk’s Oak Hills Park if they aren’t removed, Yvonne Lopaur said.

Comments

3 responses to “Dilapidated Oak Hills rose garden eyed with hope”

  1. Suzanne

    The stone wall with the enclosed pond area is an excellent remnant of the past architectural features that used to exist before Oak Hills Park was a Park. Several estate properties were combined to make up the total acreage that now exists. That spot, with the elliptically curve stone wall frames the possibilities for so many fine projects that could entice additional people to the Park. The ideas proposed above are excellent. The OHPA should consider themselves lucky that there are those that want to make the beautiful spot they already manage into something even more beautiful. How could they say no to that?

  2. EveT

    This is exactly the kind of community involvement that will boost visibility for Oak Hills as a park for everyone to enjoy, not to mention bringing in potential restaurant patrons. The Authority would be stupid to say no.

  3. Dana

    This will really pretty up an unsightly spot. Have walked the walking trails many, many times and have always thought that area has great potential. I know people that frequently walk the trails and many restaurant patrons will enjoy taking photos there.

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