Monday, September 19, 2011

Building a Park

This is a wonderful story from the Sacramento Bee of how a neighborhood, building upon a fortuitous infusion of tax payer supported grant funding, has been able to help create a new park.

Hopefully, given the dire situation with funds available for park maintenance, the community will be able to sustain the effort into the future, which the County currently cannot.

An excerpt.

“Not long ago, a stretch of land in the middle of a Carmichael neighborhood was largely inaccessible with its expanse of trees and brush and, of course, weeds.

“At 10 a.m. Saturday, the property between Jan and Salmaan drives will open as Carmichael's newest neighborhood park – Jan Park.

“The park, built for under $500,000, was financed in large measure by a $410,000 grant from Proposition 84, approved by state voters in 2006.

“But the park is larger than originally proposed – 13.6 acres instead of about 9 – thanks to an effort involving neighborhood residents and local donors who joined forces with the Carmichael Recreation and Park District.

"We were able to build the park and to keep it natural," said Tracy Kerth, recreation services manager for the district. "It's lovely."

“Resident Joyce Carroll, who lives less than a block from the site, said neighbors were disappointed that the district would have to sell 4.5 acres of the land to finance park creation. About 28 months ago, she said, she decided to rally neighbors to save the whole site.

“Carroll printed about 700 fliers with a proposal to "meet on my lawn." She walked the neighborhood to distribute them, she said.

“About 65 people showed up and voted to form a neighborhood association with the focus of saving the entire site for Jan Park.

“Carroll's description of the effort sounds easy. It wasn't.

"It was truly grass-roots," she said.

“A civil engineer volunteered a large share of his time to rework the original park master plan.

“The community held rummage sales.

“There were cash donations from groups such as the Active 20/30 Club of Sacramento, from individuals and from area businesses.

“The new Barrett Hills Neighborhood Association raised more than $30,000 in contributions, Carroll said, and the civil engineer invested perhaps that much more in in-kind work.”