LEXINGTON—The days of Mathews Garden, that improbable green gem amidst the concrete jungle that is UK’s campus, are numbered. According to an announcement from the University of Kentucky, Mathews Garden has been acquired by the College of Law.
“We’re pleased to have been given permission to purchase
Mathews Garden from the Department of Biology,” said Louise Graham, Dean of the College. “Thanks to the generosity of the university, and the impending litigation from our team of pro bono legal assistants, we will now be able to proceed with plans to pave this preserve and erect a parking garage that will complete our contiguous campus,” she added.
Bounded by a white picket fence and tucked behind an already-crowded academic spine, Mathews Garden had been a bastion of solitude for many tree-hugging students who attend UK.
“I’m sad to see that the administration was powerless to stop this senseless act of violence,” said Sarah Rivers, a junior Sustainable Agriculture major. “I just like to ambulate through the botanically diverse pathways, sit, recline in a state of receptive leisure, and enjoy the grandeur of God’s creation.”
Mathews Garden has long been a site of contestation on UK’s campus. The real estate on which the garden rests is estimated to be worth at least $3.2 million. However, the College of Law acquired the plot for a substantially smaller sum.
“We can ill afford to lose this Edenic vista,” said Jim Krupa, a UK biology professor.
Krupa, who planted many of the trees and shrubs alongside the meandering
pathways in the garden, remarked that he had created the most botanically diverse area on UK’s campus. Still, one man’s garden is another’s nest of weeds, or future parking structure.
“Parking is such a pain in the ass,” said second-year Law student Dennis “The Hammer” Miller. “Lawyers need a place to park, so we can get to work on our case files as soon as possible.”
“I’m so glad that the College of Law came to its senses and decided to buy that property,” said another student, who did not wish to be identified. Not everyone agrees with the decision to eradicate the fecund garden.
“This is so typical of our university,” said Erik Reece, whose work on mountaintop removal has granted him some level of recognition among national environmental advocates. “Creating yet more parking will only increase traffic congestion.”
Perhaps those hardest hit by the announcement are the Department of Biology students and the flowers in the garden. Because of complaints of this nature, contractors associated with the College of Law parking garage project have promised to incorporate a diverse range of flora at the base of the new structure.
“We’ll try to include as many types of flowers and shrubs as possible,” said a representative from Messer Construction, which won the bidding contract to build on the Mathews Garden Plot.
The family of Ruth Mathews, who sold the land to UK in 1968, could not be reached for immediate comment on the announcement.