Wesley Chapel citizens lend a helping hand

Village prepares for volunteer workday at future park’s site

by Josh Whitener

Anxious to see Dogwood Park open soon, Wesley Chapel citizens put there strength to the test on one of the villages previous work days cleaning debris. Photos courtesy of Wesley Chapel

WESLEY CHAPEL – Thanks to the help of concerned citizens, Wesley Chapel’s future Dogwood Park is finally getting off the ground.

The village will hold a volunteer workday Sunday, July 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is inviting community members to come out and help get the park ready for construction.

“It’s an event that’s perfect for entire families,” Mayor Pro Tem Kim Ormiston said. “There are jobs that need to be done for all ages, from heavy lifting of wheelbarrows to carrying sticks.”

Ormiston said the village hopes to start the actual construction phase in the fall, and there are a few things that need to be done before that can happen. The volunteer day’s main focus is finishing up some of the soft/natural trails, including digging trenches around the trails to allow water flow and cleaning up a few areas on the property.

Local churches and other organizations are invited to bring volunteer teams out to the site to work, and someone will be onsite to sign off for anyone seeking to earn volunteer hours. “It’s perfect for kids who need to earn volunteer hours over the summer,” Ormiston said. “People can come for the full time or even just an hour to donate their time.”

In September 2011, Wesley Chapel made the final purchase on 22.6 acres of land at the corner of Weddington and Lester Davis roads to be used for its first municipal park. The village has held volunteer workdays twice each month since March, encouraging citizens to come out and be a part of the formation of the park.

Over the past several months, volunteers have worked on the trails, cleared debris, taken down and relocated a split-rail fence, trimmed bushes, taken down an old chicken coop on the property, cleared debris and cut trees around the lake. The workdays have seen as many as 50 people on one day, and a total of more than 500 volunteer hours have been logged, Ormiston said.

The village hopes to see more public involvement as volunteers draw nearer to completing work on the trails, which Ormiston said will have to be done before a construction firm can come in and start building the park. The village plans to start securing bids over the next 60 days, she added.

Phase one of the park will include paved trails, unpaved bike trails, an amphitheater built to seat about 200, a fishing pier and improvements to the park’s lake. Other plans include widening the entrance to the property and creating a paved parking area. The goal is to open the park sometime in spring 2013.

“We’re really excited,” Ormiston said. “Things are about to get rocking and rolling really soon.”

Want to volunteer?
The park’s address is 121 Lester Davis Road. Those wishing to come out to the site and volunteer on Sunday should wear closed-toed boots or tennis shoes and heavy-duty garden gloves. Volunteers are welcome to bring shovels and wheelbarrows. For more information, call the Wesley Chapel town hall at 704-243-7391.

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