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Angel Medical eyes adjacent town property for memorial garden

Whether it’s a new dad catching a breather after his wife’s marathon labor or a grief-stricken daughter who just watched her mother slip away in her arms, overwhelmed hospital visitors sometimes need to escape.


But at Angel Medical Center in Franklin, the only place to steal away for a moment is a couple of benches by the front door or the sidewalk leading to the parking lot. It’s far from private, and not exactly relaxing.

The hospital hopes to change that with the creation of a new memorial garden, complete with a fountain, benches and landscaping designed to invoke tranquility.

“If you have someone in the ER forever or in surgery, it is just nice to have a place to get away,” said Bonnie Peggs, marketing and communications director for Angel Medical Center. “It will be a memorial garden, but it will be a place for respite.”

The hospital doesn’t have anywhere on its campus to install the garden, however. Its neighboring property owner might just have the perfect spot though.

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The backside of Angel Medical Center abuts the backside of Franklin’s town hall. Franklin’s town hall sits on about three acres in all, but the entire back half of the lot is wooded and not used by the town. Angel Medical has asked for a sliver of that unused wooded area — about one-third of an acre — for the memorial garden.

Franklin’s town board heard that request at its meeting this week. The town board was receptive to the idea, since it isn’t using it for anything and isn’t likely to.

“The land down there has no value to the town,” said Franklin Town Manager Sam Greenwood.

Rather than give the property outright to the hospital, however, the town would do a long-term lease for $1 a year.

Franklin Landscape Architect Steven Baldwin has drawn plans for the garden already, which were shared with town leaders this week. Along with standard garden fare, plans include a shallow circular stream with gently moving water. Stones just below the surface will be engraved with names offering “in honor of” and “in memory of” dedications, Peggs said.

Donors will hopefully step forward to help fund the creation of the garden by sponsoring various pieces of it, from the benches and fountain to trees and other plantings.

If it comes to fruition, it could also serve as a permanent home for the various markers and plaques scattered across the hospital campus.

“We have all these memorials all over the yards of the hospital. Why don’t we take all these memorial plaques and stones and put them all in one place?” Peggs said.

Peggs hopes it will be a relaxing place to recharge, offering fresh air, the sound of flowing water and a quiet place to “refuel your body.”

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