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CMC breaks ground on courtyard

Volunteers hope a new courtyard and prayer garden will be medicine to the souls of patients at Chilton Medical Center.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday — which, fittingly, was also Earth Day — in the presence of CMC Auxiliary members, Chilton County Master Gardeners, hospital staff and other community members.

The garden will be located in an enclosed grassy area on the hospital’s grounds. It will include a gazebo, picnic tables, benches, a wheelchair-accessible sidewalk and a planting garden.

“When patients are in need of an area to go for solitude and guidance, they can come here,” said Vanessa McKinney, CMC staff member. “It will be a nice and quiet place they can come to pray or think.”

The project manager is Ann Thomas of the hospital Auxiliary. The nonprofit group is in charge of fundraising activities and will also be accepting donations.

Auxiliary member Jessie Binion said she hopes both patients and members of the community will use the garden.

“Being inside these walls is heartbreaking,” she said. “If they can come out here and sit, walk, smell a flower — it means so much.”

Added Binion, “I believe in progress. This has been a long time coming.”

The Chilton County Master Gardeners will help with landscape design, consulting, plant installation and soil preparation. Even after the garden is complete, they plan to provide regular maintenance.

“The beauty is naturally going to help a person’s feelings,” said Master Gardener Ann Baker. “It just helps to be able to enjoy a beautiful garden. It can be medicine as well.”

The ladies thanked all volunteers for their support, specifically the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department for allowing inmates to assist with the work.

The completion date is set for September. Anyone who wishes to donate may do so by calling Chilton Medical Center at 755-2500 and asking for the Auxiliary desk.