GREENVILLE — Friends of the Greenville City Park held its first meeting on Thursday evening, where several people attended to discuss a restoration project of the “Treasured Island” in the large lagoon located at the entrance of the park.
“This will be a fundraising campaign that we’re starting,” said Jenny Clark, team leader. “So we’re going to discuss how we can go about that.”
The meeting was scheduled to discuss what the group would like to see done with the island, set up committees and discuss fundraising ideas.
“We believe that the city park deserves to be maintained, protected and preserved at the highest level possible,” Clark said. “We feel that the park reflects the pride that we have in our community.”
The meeting started off with people sharing memories they had of the park, specifically the lagoon area.
Elaine Bailey, who grew up in Greenville, shared a memory of when people were allowed to ice skate on the pond and slide down a very large slide.
“I loved ice skating on the big pond and the tall slide was amazing,” she said. “Back then it was kind of a right of passage. As a kid, if you fell and hurt yourself then you just hurt yourself, you moved on, but the situations that we have now, it’s just not there.”
Clark said the latest attempt at restoring the island involved the seeding of wildflowers and the placement of a flag sign.
“All of this was done with the best intentions in trying to cut down on mowing and maintenance but it needs to be replaced,” she said.
The meeting continued with discussing the history of the park, which opened in 1915, and its current budget.
According to records obtained by Clark, the park budget in 1999 was $2 million, in 2009 the budget was $497,000 and the 2016 budget was more than $258,000.
Clark said there is currently only one paid park employee, three board members and any park maintenance is performed by the street department.
“As we can see from looking around the park, things deteriorate quickly when money and time are not invested in it,” she said. “The list of needs is long and costly and at the rate the city is addressing the issues, the beautiful park that we all remember is slipping away.”
While ideas for the island are still being discussed, Coppock-Hole Trust expressed interest and created a possible landscape design plan for the island, which was approved by the park board. The design includes trees, shrubbery, a self-sufficient waterfall and more.
Although Coppock-Hole Trust cannot currently commit or guarantee anything, the goal is to raise funds for the possible landscape design, which will cost approximately $75,000. The cost includes the price of a crane to get equipment and landscape items to the island, installation and labor.
“Whatever is decided to be placed there, we want to put something there that the next generation can be proud of and remember,” Bailey said.
The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on September 15 at shelter 1 in the park where by-laws and non-profit status will be discussed, officers will be appointed and more fundraising ideas will be presented.
For more information contact Clark at 937-467-9953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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