Nearly six months after the opening of the Greenhouse Café at Allerton Park, improvements will begin on the Café’s outdoor patio thanks to a gift from Deborah and Michael Westjohn. Work has begun replacing the pea gravel with a concrete aggregate, and upgrades will be made to the surrounding landscape. Access to the Café will not be impacted during the renovations.
The Westjohns have been long-time supporters of the Park, visiting nearly their entire lives and making donations for over a decade. After meeting with Allerton’s Director Derek Peterson in early May, the Monticello couple saw the opportunity to make a bigger impact at a place that has had a significant impact on them.
“I feel like I grew up here, it’s my second home,” Deborah explained.
“We really value Allerton—and what benefits Allerton benefits Piatt County,” Michael added.
The couple worked with Allerton staff and the University of Illinois Foundation to transfer funds directly from their IRA, making a gift to Allerton while also helping fulfill their required minimum distribution. The Westjohn’s gift, made in memory of Henry and Elisabeth Westjohn, also provides an endowment for the long-term care of the space.
“Improving the outdoor space near the Greenhouse Café will continue our focus on inviting people to enjoy different parts of Allerton in new and accessible ways,” explained Peterson. “It’s gifts like these– ones that include a long term endowment – that will sustain the Park as we keep moving forward.”
The addition of the Greenhouse Café and the patio improvements are the first of many updates visitors will see in the area surrounding the current Visitor Center. Plans for renovating historic outbuildings, relocating the Visitor Center, and adding a new streetscape are in the works, but require additional funding.
To learn more about specific projects, naming opportunities, and planned giving options, contact Allerton’s Associate Director of Advancement, Bridget Frerichs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-333-3287.