February 23, 2015 was a day made in heaven for little boys as it marked the first day of the 'Road Project.' It was heralded by the noise of machines that move the earth around with their raw power—a spectacle that notably feeds the spirits and imaginations of little boys.
The said “Road Project” has been in the heart of the Dunn community for a long time, anticipated joyfully as a new baby in a family. For over sixty years the roads that curve around the Gardens have been covered in asphalt. Roots of the adjacent trees have extended upward over time, causing waves in the road surface. The long time dream has been to replace the asphalt with gravel—as in the 1915 original road system.
The forces that can bring such a large undertaking to fruition have lined up this year right behind the particular lodestar that guides the Dunn Gardens. The impetus of the Centennial, in combination with a generous donor base, has allowed us to proceed with the “Road Project.” The anticipation ended on the 23rd as the trucks rolled in to cart away the old surface being lifted.
February and into March will be messy. During the initial days of the work men will roll in and out with their trucks and machines taking away the old surface. They will come back after that to
dig some trenches to lay lighting, prepare the new surface, and carefully set down the gravel. All of this activity will deprive people of access, parking spaces, and challenge the work of the grounds men. Still, the inconveniences, like those suffered during the gestation of a baby, diminish in the light of what will be. The road that replaces the old will be ecologically friendly, level, lit, and best of all will crunch when someone walks or drives on it. The sound will be sympathetic, a little soft hello. It will tell you the baby has arrived.
Little boys grow up, of course, but the experience of watching something glorious being constructed is part of what feeds the imagination all their lives. The accompanying picture is the Dunn grandson who spearheaded the “Road Project.” Here he is observing a house being built in the Gardens in the 1940s.
The Dunn Gardens owes deep gratitude to Tanya DeMarsh-Dodson for her careful oversight of the road and lighting project that will take us back to the original while it simultaneously moves us into the future. You will know that to be true when you hear the crunch as you walk on the new road.