Last week’s story of the Boonville People’s Park background promised that this week would reveal the details of the $178,000 funding recently awarded to the Park. The whole money trail started when Anderson Valley Community Services District Manager Joy Andrews received an email informing cities, counties and special districts that if they were willing to fill out an application including 8-10 information areas with documentation and take a day long webinar presented by the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, $178,000 would be allocated to our community for park improvement. Joy forwarded the email to Kathleen McKenna of the Recreation Committee. Kathleen thought the requirements were too onerous but she told committee member Donna Pierson-Pugh about the offer. Donna, veteran of every grant challenge you could ever come up with, agreed to attend the webinar and together they waded through the other requirements with the third member of the Recreation Parks Committee, Elizabeth Jensen.
Where there’s a will there’s a way so a few years later they were informed that they met the criteria and would be getting the money if we jumped through the necessary hoops. Local architect Steve Wood helped a lot with technical assistance to fulfill the requirements of the State Department of Architecture. The School District and Superintendent Louise Simson (who Donna said was a pleasure to work with) agreed to give the park a 40-year-lease use agreement. They applied for an encroachment permit from the County Department of Transportation. A search for a construction company that can build a parking lot was undertaken. In short the organically formed ad hoc park project was fast becoming much more formalized.
From the beginning of this process the Community Services District was involved as the potential administrator of planning and funds as well as the organizational allocation applicant. Joy started the ball rolling but she was also going to be writing checks once the state funds arrived. The contract was signed by CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt a few weeks ago and the money has officially been awarded. The entire CSD supported the undertaking from the beginning while the Recreation Committee and particularly the Park subcommittee have been steering the ship. We have two-three years to spend the money.
The largest part of the money will be spent to build a parking lot which may sound boring and unfun. The truth is that unloading kids to go to the park has always been a sketchy business. Parking on the edge of the park means children are unloaded either on the traffic side into Airport road or on the curbside into a sloping ditch. The parking lot will not use all of the money. If you have ideas for the park go to (bitly/avparkparksurvey) to chime in.
Thanks again to Anya Farquhar for creating this online survey. She has received a good response and says they are always looking for people to help, especially for fundraising and grant writing in their ongoing efforts to improve the park. Ideas for spending the money include more benches and tables, a water fountain, another play structure, permanent bathroom, better trash bins, a ropes course, skate park, and maybe even a swimming pool.
Time out to thank a few more stakeholders in the park. Correction on Justin Laqua’s tractor driver, chip and earthmover name listed as Justin McQuay (sorry). Regina Boudoures turned Elizabeth Jensen onto Donna and the Recreation Committee. Steve Derwinski, local wrought iron expert, is designing a new gate. Elizabeth Jensen has to be thanked for holding a long-term big picture dream for the park and in the meantime wrangling trash, recycle and wood chips while organizing work parties and serving on the Recreation Committee. Gordon Groebe volunteer. Kathleen McKenna and Donna for steadfast service to Recreation Committee for many, many years and wading through the paperwork to get the money. Noor Dawood and Maggie Von Vogt for their contribution to youth with the Service Learning Project. Also Torrey Douglas and Melissa Ellis who helped along the way.
Who uses the park? Old ladies on the swings, families BBQing, preschoolers on tricycles, the Lion’s Club for Covid safe meetings, Zumba exercisers, teen-agers hanging out, Clinic patrons taking time out after appointments next door, parents of little kids, dog lovers, and many others. Do you use the park? Know someone who does? Volunteers are always needed.
A bit more: a proposal by the Service Learning Team. For youthful input nothing beats this group of 7-12 graders who would love to see a pool or a skate park on the park site. For the moment they are focusing on the skate park idea and have moved way beyond the “Wouldn’t that be cool” stage.
Facilitated by Noor Dawood and Maggie Von Vogt they are meeting regularly with the Recreation Committee. They have located an expert on Skate Parks— Michael Greenwald who is helping them to put together a proposal for the recreation committee that includes several phases. First phase beginners concrete pad for about $40,000. They have picked a workable site at the park. As there are few places for teens to meet in AV, their plan has special merit. If you are interested in supporting this team you can contact them at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are passionate about helping kids find hands-on learning opportunities, you and the Service Learning Team could be a match made in heaven. To voice your support for a beginning skate park inclusion you can let the CSD know at (email@example.com).
That’s the overview for now. If you know more about the park, the allocation, who has contributed or want to contact me about park articles in general you can reach me at (firstname.lastname@example.org).