Goodell Gardens Receives $14,500 Grant from Erie Community Foundation

As the Erie region’s only public garden is planning a 10th Anniversary Celebration, they also have begun planning the next decade of development. The Erie Community Foundation recently announced that Goodell Gardens & Homestead is the recipient of a $14,500 Helping Today: Basic Needs grant. According to Goodell Gardens Executive Director Dana Atwood, this grant will be used to fund a “Ten-Year Concept Plan.” The Erie Community Foundation received approximately $500,000 in grant proposals for this competitive process. Goodell Gardens was one among a half-dozen to receive a fully-funded grant. Atwood said that the monies received from the grant will be used to fund a contract with Pittsburgh-based MTR Landscape Architects, to chart the conceptual design for the next 10 years of site development at Goodell Gardens & Homestead.  The design, which is currently being developed by MTR under the guidance of Goodell Gardens’ Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff is congruent with the existing Master Site Plan (currently on display in the Gardens’ Welcome Center and Museum), and will include approximately half of the 78-acre site.

“Goodell Gardens is honored that the Erie Community Foundation chose to fund our grant request,” Atwood said.  “We’re excited to plan the next phase of development, which nearly quadruples the developed site, from under 10 to nearly 40 acres.”

The Ten-Year Concept Plan will be the second phase in developing what was once a family farm into a full-fledged botanical garden, and will take up where phase one left off. Phase one, which is now completed, included renovating the Goodell Homestead and Heritage Garden, reclaiming six acres of cornfield, renovating and relocating the sheep barn (which is now known as the Events Barn), building the horseshoe driveway and conjoining the western portion of frontage with the existing Goodell Homestead and Heritage Garden.

Atwood said that the official plans for the next ten years are approximately 85 percent finished, and that he expects the plans to be revealed to the public early in the 2013 season.
“In our next meeting, the Board of Directors will evaluate the final concept among the three schemes initially proposed by MTR,” Atwood said.

Much work has gone into this planning process, which began in May of this year. Site analysis and research to assess the current use and needs of the property and cost/benefit analysis were done to evaluate the efficiencies of the site and estimate future needs for the organization.

Atwood said that he was both humbled and proud when he received word that the Erie Community Foundation had approved the Gardens’ grant request. “We realize that the grant process was highly competitive, and that many other quality organizations were also in the running,” Atwood said. “But I also have to recognize that the staff and Board at Goodell Gardens and the Edinboro Community are great stewards for this money. “

Atwood went on to say that both the strategic plan and the master site plan for Goodell Gardens are being executed beyond his expectations. “We all work hard, and have managed to build a great product,” he said.  “I would never say that this is just me. The only way we’re able to write a grant like this is because of community support, the hard work of our staff and Board of Directors and the amazing support made available by the presence of the Erie Community Foundation.”

For more information about Goodell Gardens, visit

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