ALTON - Laura Dixon Wallendorf was devastated when, last year, someone stole a ceramic frog statue that adorned Frog Fountain in North Alton.

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Wallendorf and Cheryl Senior adopted the garden at State and Belle Streets in Alton, and they have maintained the space for years. They couldn’t believe it when the community rallied behind them to purchase a new frog for the fountain.

“It just took my breath away,” Wallendorf said. “We had a really special thing happen.

Now, Wallendorf and Senior are asking for help again. The two of them hope to revitalize a garden space at the corner of Henry and 67th Streets in Alton, the site of a fatal car accident that claimed the life of Wallendorf’s nephew in October.

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When Wallendorf saw the overgrown location, she knew she had to do something. She hopes to completely redo the garden to make it a suitable memorial for her nephew and a nice community space.

“It was very, very hard. We went down there and had a big group show up to release the doves for Anthony, and I’m looking at this garden there at the corner of Henry and 67, and I’m going, ‘Oh my gosh,’” she remembered. “My sister had put up a cross for my nephew, and I said, ‘No, this isn’t going to work.’ I said, ‘I’ll take on this garden.’”

Wallendorf and Senior are grateful for the help they’ve received from the community. They thanked Element Landscaping and Community Seed & Feed for their work and donations over the years, and they noted their appreciation for people who contributed to last year’s “frog fund” and a gentleman who donated a concrete frog from his late mother’s garden. The man told them how much joy the Frog Fountain had brought his mother.

This joy is exactly what Wallendorf and Senior hope to accomplish with their gardening projects. But Wallendorf said she could use some help on the new garden. She hopes to team up with volunteers throughout the community who can help her weed the garden, plant flowers and more.

“Anybody who wants to help me, truly, I beyond need help with this,” she said. “I need volunteers to pull all the weeds out of there and I’m going to plant some plants down there and redo it, but I truly need some help.”

She expects to finish the project sometime this summer. If you or a group want to volunteer to help with the garden, you can contact Wallendorf at 618-604-9203.

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