Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Barbara's park message

I really liked Barbara's email about the park. Since I have permission from her I wanted to share it with ya'll. Thanks Barbara!

Hi! This is a report on the Marshall event for all would couldn't make it (and thus a rehash for those who did).

If you couldn't be there, you missed a wonderful event in the history of our park. What a team effort it was to pull off, and obviously we've got a team that works well together.

The "stage" was set just outside the library's Palladian window in the back. Urns of ferns flanked the lectern and mic system. Scott's beautiful banner - first used at the back to school event on the Square - made a wonderful backdrop. He also had installed our permanent sign at the library's entrance but it's down momentarily to get a pro forma Library Board approval. Cheryl displayed our design illustrations and they got a lot of attention. The actual park site has recently been cleaned up courtesy of Snapping Shoals EMC and thanks to Scott.

A beautiful flower arrangement made by Connie decorated the table where a sheet cake was served after the event. On another table, colorful Chinese food boxes prepared and decorated by Cheryl were displayed for pickup by the children as the kickoff of Pennies for the Park. They'll be returned to the library with lots of pocket change, we hope!
Kelli Hopkins made moving comments about the meaning of the park for her family in announcing the Pennies for the Park drive.

To open the event, I gave a brief rundown about the park's progress and the challenge we have to build community support for parks and greenspace and our park in particular. Then David Waller - who had arranged for Congressman Jim Marshall to showcase this event - introduced the Congressman who's been a great friend to this community. (His aide told me later that Marshall really loves Covington/Newton County because we've got the right people coming together to do the right things. A nice compliment!)

Marshall made heartfelt remarks about the importance of getting kids back at play in the out-of-doors and the need to do all we can to protect trees, greenspace and our natural world. He is co-sponsor of HR 3036, the No Child Left Inside Legislation, the goal of which is to provide funds to educate teachers about how to encourage nature appreciation and education for kids. Some monies might become available through this bill to provide programming for the park but not with construction, he said. Marshall is an avid outdoorsman himself and he seemed to be pleased to be here in support of our project. Thanks to David Waller for using his excellent contacts to get the Congressman here.

During the program, we recognized Tyler Venable who almost to the dot guessed the correct number of acorns at the back-to-school event. He's an adorable third-grader and was introduced to all the dignitaries there. He had his picture made with Jim Marshall. We gave him a nice wooden bird feeder and seeds as his prize for being the winner guesser.

Chairman Aaron Varner made closing remarks. Plenty of other special people were in attendance, including Mayor Kim Carter, Commissioner Monty Laster and Juvenile Court Judge Billy Waters. Certainly I've left out others which is why we didn't try to name them all at the event last night! Actually everyone there was special, particularly the children who marched in after the Congressman's remarks wearing Chimney Park t-shirts Scott had ordered for last night's event. It was a charming moment.

Both papers covered the event and made photos. Greg Heid reported that attendance was 137 people!

I've left out people who ought to have been thanked, as is usually the case, so apologies in advance. It's no surprise that Josephine Kelly drafted her family - this time Shelby - to pitch in. Everyone's on call in that household!.

Be proud of our park and our board. Barbara

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