George F. Duffey Park in Placerville was completed on April 6. A simple park for families to enjoy, the project represents so much more than just a place to play. It’s another example of the positive effects of the human spirit.
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It took only one day to have the newest city park planted, weeded and landscaped, but it was a plan over a decade in the making.
The park, at the corner of Pleasant and Arizona streets, has been in the city’s plans since 1998. It was part of the Cottonwood Project, a conditioned subdivision project. The phased development was lost to foreclosure before the park and two other sections of the project were completed, but the lender agreed to give $98,000 toward the park’s development.
In 2013, everything came together. But it took a lot to make it happen:
• On March 5, Wally Sealok, his foreman and a three-man crew from the Placerville Public Works Department used a Bobcat to drill footing holes in the park soil, preparing to install equipment.
• The City of Placerville agreed to pick up the installation costs and to keep the costs low.
• $30,000 of playground equipment was donated by the Placerville Kiwanis Club.
• On April 6, the community collaboration, including members of the Placerville Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis Key Club, Kiwanis Aktion Club, Kiwanis Builders Club, members of Placerville City Council, city staff and neighbors of the park, banded together to ready the park for opening. “We had about 50-60 folks who planted 15 trees and 60 plants,” Community Services Director Steve Youel said in Wendy Schultz’s story. “Dennis Look Landscaping was there, Western Sign installed the signs and Charlie Wigglesworth made the best hot dogs in the world.”
• Kiwanis children’s clubs — Key Club and the Builders’s Club — will be helping with park maintenance.
It was a joint effort with a lot of moving parts involving a lot of key players throughout the community. Volunteering time, money and services for the greater good of the community was the only reason the park stands today, in its shining glory.
That’s why we found it so important to be there for every part of the process. We wanted to showcase the effort every step of the way, from the fundraising (see our article on the Art & Wine Festival, and how Kiwanis was using some of the funds it raised from that event to help fund the effort for Duffey Park), to the digging and installation, all the way to the planting and celebration. It is efforts like this that deserve all the press we can give.
And now something stands that generations of Placerville residents and visitors can enjoy. We’d say it’s helping make Placerville a better place, but the people who put it together have been here long enough to already have. And as a former downtown neighbor of the late George Duffey when he ran the Placerville News Co. we know the man with a collection of wildflower photos would really appreciate this park. It is an aptly named park and we congratulate the Kiwanis and City Hall.