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Positively LEX 18: Jessamine County landscaper restores pond in honor of late mentor

Bluegrass Memorial Gardens.jpg
Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 18:20:03-04

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky (LEX18) — There's something healing about the sound of water, which is why a cemetery is a perfect home for a beautiful pond.

"When I see people with tears in their eyes, that's a good time to listen to some water," said Greg O'Neal, a local landscaper.

However, just a couple of months ago, a small pond at Bluegrass Memorial Gardens sat in disrepair.

O'Neal said, "It hadn't been running in almost a decade."

The pond was built in the 1980s by Mike Stephens. Stephens was Greg O'Neal's mentor. He schooled him on landscape design and helped change the trajectory of his life. Stephens passed away in 2012, so when O'Neal returned to Lexington in August, restoring the pond was on the top of his list.

"That's why I came back. I knew one of Mike's creations was not functioning," O'Neal said. "It has a lot to do with his legacy, and I wanted this thing to go for the people around here."

O'Neal, owner of Aaron's Improvements, got to work revamping the mossy pond into a water feature Mike Stephens would be proud of. He also took special care to make it a peaceful place for families to spend some time in reflection, and he did it at a very discounted cost.

"It's amazing. Not only did I get a lot of enjoyment out of it doing it for Mike and doing it for Phil, but the people also that have come around and said the appreciation of getting it going again. It feels good," O'Neal said.

It is his hope now, even after he is gone, the beautiful space will remain. In a way he is tying his own legacy to his mentor's and leaving them both behind for generations to come.