Huntley Trustee Pam Fender did not expect the reception she got at GreenTrees apartments Monday, where McHenry County Housing Authority officials presented her with a plaque for her work on a landscape project at the low income housing complex.
“I didn’t do this for any award,” Fender said. “I just did this to help out. It just felt good.”
Fender spearheaded the project that started last year when the housing authority received a USDA Rural Development grant. The grant paid for a landscape architect and some of the labor to remove the existing landscape, said Julie Biel Claussen, executive director of the housing authority.
It was Fender who began recruiting volunteers to do the manual labor. She had hoped it would become a community project and Huntley residents as well as people from neighboring communities did come together.
Fender, along with landscape architect Karl Krogstadt and his wife, Nancy, also secured donations of plants and materials from local businesses and residents. Additionally, Drew Clark of Boy Scout Troop 159 built benches as his Eagle project, Biel Claussen said. The Land Conservancy of McHenry County donated oak trees, she said.
“I couldn’t imagine putting a price tag on” the donated items and the labor, Biel Claussen said. "It's not a cheap project."
"These benches have been a godsend,” one resident said.
Other groups who volunteered included:
- Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church
- St. Mary’s Catholic Church Youth Group
- Huntley High School students
- Willow Creek Church
- Huntley Girl Scout Troops
- Huntley Brownie Troops
- Huntley Jaycees
- Lions Club of Sun City
- the Village of Huntley
- the Huntley Park District
- Huntley Neighbors Bunco Girls
- Huntley Firefighters Cadet group
“There were about 200 people involved in this initiative, including some that were not part of these groups,” Biel Claussen said. “I certainly want to thank them all for their kindness.”