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New Gathering Space Adds To Beauty At Community Cancer Center Gardens

Ed, Danell, Diane, and Dan pose for a photo
Ryan Denham
From left, Ed Larsen, Danell Moberly, Diane Cote, and Dan Slagel all worked on the new gathering space behind the Community Cancer Center in Normal.

There’s a new outdoor space in Normal for cancer patients, their families, and the general public to reflect, meditate, and regenerate.

The tiered sitting wall and gathering place is located behind the Community Cancer Center, 407 E. Vernon Ave., and is accessible to the public from the nearby Constitution Trail. It overlooks the beautiful gardens at the cancer center.

Dan Slagel with the cancer center’s grounds committee said it’s a perfect spot to “enjoy the view” of the gardens, or even host presentations and small meetings. It will also be open in time for Saturday's butterfly release fundraiser at the cancer center.

“There’s not many places that you can get to and just sit and reflect,” Slagel said. “We’ve put a few spots in here over the past year or two, but this will be a real plus. And it’ll be used a lot.”

The Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors (BNAR) led the charge to create the space. It got some seed money through a National Association of Realtors grant.

Local Realtors also received a lot of volunteer help and other assistance from Midwest Construction Rental, Laborers Local 362, Carpenters Local 237, Finishers Local 18, Scharf Excavating, Local Boys Trucking, United Contractors Midwest, William Phillips with Commerce Bank, and Bellas Landscaping.

It turned out to be a $19,000 project, said Ed Larsen, one of the lead organizers on the project and a broker associate at Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group.

“We got it done for considerably less because we just had so much help. It really restores your humanity a bit, because people want to help with something that’s going to make a difference,” Larsen said.

Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors is looking for partners on future projects like this, said CEO Diane Cote. The association can get that national placemaking grant twice per year to help create new spaces in Bloomington-Normal, she said.

“We like to contribute in any way we can to make the community a better place,” Cote said.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.