Park shows value of service

By Observer editorial November 30, 2012 01:21 pm

About 30 percent of Oregonians donate 50 or more hours to community service each year.

A few of those civic-minded individuals live in Elgin. Thanks to their work, a park there is getting a makeover.

The expansion of Tom McDowell Park can be attributed to more than just a $36,912 grant from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. The money helped pay for new play structures, heavy machinery rental and concrete used for the posts.

 The grant paid for 80 percent of the project costs. The remaining 20 percent came from donated labor. Among the corporations that donated labor or materials toward the project were W.C. Construction, OTEC, Boise Cascade and ACS Contracting. 

 Among the individuals who pitched in were Chuck Anderson of ACS Contracting, who did the initial excavation with his backhoe, and Brad Welch, who volunteered to finish the job with a rented backhoe.

Lots of local muscle also came to the aid of the cause. Elgin teacher Brent Carroll and his high school students helped move the play equipment from storage to the park site. And Coach Brock Eckstein and the Elgin High School football team showed they can do a lot more than block and tackle under Friday night lights. The team used its significant muscle to move posts to the site for installation.

Other donated help was provided by members of the Elgin Rural Fire Protection District, by Doug Durfee of W.C. Construction and by school teachers from Stella Mayfield.

 Boise Cascade donated wood chips for ground covering on the expanded area — and for the former play area.

The project will improve the city’s aesthetic appeal, and shows what an investment in the community can accomplish when individuals and institutions pull together for the betterment of a small town. It shows the power of volunteerism and of service to the community.

The dedication ceremony marking the expansion of the Tom McDowell Park has not yet been set, but it will be a good time for community members to come out and honor those who contributed to making the project a success.