The successful effort to renovate Kiwanis Methow Park is cause for a heck of a party. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held this Saturday, May 11, from 1-4 p.m. at the park and everyone is invited.
There are many aspects of this renovation that stand out as significant. First and foremost, it represents a high-water mark in the effort to create a greater sense of belonging for everyone in the Wenatchee community. It also stands out as a proud achievement in terms of encouraging people to get engaged in civic life and become part of making the community stronger.
It says something when more than 100 neighbors of that park — the Parque Padrinos — have volunteered to look after the park and help make it a place that truly serves the valley.
The project has also proven that if you give people meaningful opportunities to get involved and engaged in a civic project, they will show up and contribute. That is one of the great lessons of the Kiwanis Methow Park project.
So many people have contributed to this effort. For years, the local Kiwanis Club poured heart and soul into making the park successful. Then came the partnership between the city and TPL to take it to the next level.
Mayor Frank Kuntz and members of the Wenatchee City Council deserve a special commendation for their efforts to build bridges into the neighborhoods in South Wenatchee. They have demonstrated that everyone in this valley belongs here and that the city is here for the entire community. When fundraising fell short, the city stepped up and filled the void.
Thanks to the city, the park renovation based will go forward and fulfill the vision of the neighbors who help develop the park plan.
The Trust for Public Land led a broad-based community conversation over the past several years to determine how the park could best serve the neighborhood. It will have a central kiosk for performances and events, an upgraded sports field, and other amenities.
Through the process, our community learned that a well programmed park is so much more than just a place with playground equipment and a wading pool. With the start of construction next week, we’re going to see the space transformed into a new destination for community members as well as visitors.
Health care providers like Confluence Health and Columbia Valley Community Health see this project as an opportunity to help improve health outcomes in South Wenatchee. Having well-programmed parks plays a role in supporting physical and mental health in communities, which is the idea behind TPL’s Parks for People program.
TPL raised significant dollars through grants from a variety of agencies including the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, thanks to the support of our legislators.
When local fundraising began, the community responded. Fruit executives with the leadership of Stuart McDougall stepped up to support the effort because they understood that many agricultural workers live in that neighborhood and they wanted to give back.
South Wenatchee is no longer a place that feels neglected by the city or the rest of the community. It has been inspiring to see how this project has engaged and involved so many folks in that neighborhood, highlighted by the Parque Padrinos.
This effort engendered a great sense of community spirit in those neighborhoods and when key votes were taken at City Hall, the place was packed with appreciative neighbors who came out to support the park.
The work isn’t quite completed. Another $75,000 to $100,000 in fundraising remains to get this project completely finished.
But the dramatic success shows this to be a community that pulls together and makes sure that everyone belongs. That philosophy will pay huge dividends for the community for years to come.