Katie’s Garden, located next to the Platteville Regional Chamber and Travel Wisconsin Welcome Center (275 Business Highway 151 West, Platteville, WI 53818), has had dozens of volunteers donate their time and talents to make this one of the most beautiful places on earth! This garden is full of color all season long and has benches, tables, picnic areas, and walking paths throughout. The focal point is a beautiful gazebo where one can sit and enjoy the beauty of the gardens. It has become a destination for weddings, wedding receptions, garden parties, and picnics. Countless photographers enjoy the beauty of the garden during all four seasons. New gardens are constantly being added to enhance the beauty and tranquility.
Katie’s Garden is the anchor to the Platteville Community Arboretum and Rountree Gardens project that encompasses areas along the Rountree Branch Trail. The trail, which meanders along the Rountree Branch stream through the Platteville community, is a picturesque, quiet hiking and biking trail that is becoming a focal point of the community. As the Chamber and Welcome Center are located along the trail, the creation of Katie’s Garden is only the beginning of a truly wonderful experience for our visitors and community alike. A visit to Katie’s Garden is a must! For more information and pictures, visit our Facebook page.
Katie Vaassen was a very inspirational young lady who symbolized the word “volunteer”.
Katie began volunteering at the Platteville Chamber of Commerce at the age of 14, by the time she graduated from high school in 1999, she had accumulated over 800 hours of volunteer service. After graduating from high school she attended UW-P and continued working at the Chamber as an official student employee.
Katie worked almost every day, and would help with whatever project we had, whether it would be answering the phones, working on our monthly newsletter, helping organize our annual golf outing, our Maxwell Street Day, or our annual celebration. She especially enjoyed helping with all of the planning that was involved with the Chicago Bears Training Camp. She was very creative, very organized, loved interacting with the public and was always up for a challenge.
Katie was a little “pixie” in physical stature, but internally she was a powerhouse of spunk, spirit and attitude. She was neither afraid nor intimidated by new challenges, and was always excited to begin something new. She was honest and full of integrity; she was kind and gentle, always willing to do something for someone else. Katie had a heart condition that prevented her from doing a lot of physical activities.
Her desire to help others and give so totally of herself was a testament of her generous spirit and commitment to her community.
Katie passed away at the tender age of 23 on May 13, 2004. As a tribute to her the Chamber of Commerce dedicated a garden to her on July 25, 2004.
The initial clean up and groundbreaking on the gardens was June 14, 2004. A host of community members and friends, many with little or no prior gardening experience, came to help. Contractors worked extra hours to make sure the gardens were completed in time. Many businesses donated materials to the gardens.