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updated: 8/28/2014 8:59 AM

Illinois hospital opens $1 million garden Illinois hospital opens $1 million garden

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Associated Press

PEORIA -- Children's Hospital of Illinois is opening a $1 million rooftop garden for families of patients in pediatric critical care.

The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the ribbon cutting is Thursday for the garden. It's expected to officially open next week after years of planning. The Peoria hospital is based at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.

The garden features trees, flowering shrubs and hundreds of perennial flowers. Wooden walkways lead to sitting areas and a fountain. Three metal canopies each weigh about 5,000 pounds.

Lynn and Jerry Flaherty donated $500,000 for the garden that's named after them. Jerry Flaherty's former employer, Caterpillar Inc., matched their gift.

The couple says they wanted to create a peaceful place for families because of their experience having three premature babies more than 50 years ago.

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