Groups save roses after Hodges Gardens closes

Hodges Roses2018 (2)

With a lot of hard work the Friends of Hodges Gardens and the staff of the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana saved the roses from Hodges Gardens. They have been moved to Cypress Bend Park creating the A.J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Memorial Rose Garden. It is a work in progress. Thank you to the SRA for allowing this Memorial Garden to be placed at the Flag Plaza at Cypress Bend Park so that the public may continue to enjoy the beautiful Hodges Gardens roses.

The Act of conveyance of Hodges Gardens by the State of Louisiana to the A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation (Foundation) was signed Feb. 20 and recorded at the Sabine Parish Clerk of Court’s office Feb. 22. The Gardens remain closed with no current plans for reopening.

Since the Park closure Oct. 1, 2017, two proposals to continue the operation of the Gardens were developed. The first between the Foundation and the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and the second between the Friends of Hodges Gardens and the Foundation. These proposals were unsuccessful due to the parties being unable to find common ground on what it would take to operate the gardens. The Foundation has made clear it “has no interest in resuming operation of the Gardens in whole or in part.”

The Foundation also stated that once it got out of the business of operating the Gardens in 2007, it shifted its mission and pledged the remaining endowment to the Ecological Forestry Center, the wildlife conservation entity the foundation presently operates. As concluded in 2007, the current focus simply does not allow the foundation to resume operation of the Gardens. Any future requests for information on Hodges Gardens should be directed to the A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation, P. O. Box 1832, Shreveport, LA 71166.

With no plan to maintain the formal Gardens, Friends looked for a way to save the roses. With the support of the Foundation, the Friends Board of Directors voted to establish an A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Memorial Rose Garden at a site where the public could continue to enjoy them. The SRA offered such a site at Cypress Bend Park. Approximately 180 roses have been moved to this site. Friends of Hodges Gardens are using their remaining fund balance to establish this Memorial Garden. Once the funds have been expended, the Friends of Hodges Gardens will dissolve the organization.

The Friends of Hodges Gardens has nominated Hodges Gardens to the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Endangered Places List. If accepted, this nomination will provide a platform for state and national recognition of the plight of Hodges Gardens. It is the organization’s hope that such recognition might bring the financial support and professional expertise needed to save and restore the Gardens for future generations.

Hodges Roses2018 (1)

 

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