Kiwanis Park presented with maple trees in recognition of
Maine Arbor Day Week
Observer photo/Stuart HedstromPLANTING IN TREE CITY — In recognition of Maine Arbor Week the town of Dover-Foxcroft — which has been designated with Tree City USA Community status — presented a maple tree to the Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft to be planted at Kiwanis Park behind the Piscataquis Regional YMCA. The tree and another maple sapling will each be placed on either side of the park gazebo. The donation is in support of the Kiwanis Club’s continual efforts to maintain the park and keep the space as a place for all ages to enjoy. Members of the Kiwanis and town officials pictured during the presentation are from left, Kiwanis Assistant Treasurer Grace Hague, Brian Woodworth, Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cy, Tim Hague, Town Manager Jack Clukey, John Cushing and Kiwanis President Bob Moore.
History of the Kiwanis Park in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine By: Dr. David McDermott
An article to allow the establishment of the Kiwanis Park was approved at the Annual Town Meeting in Dover-Foxcroft in 1989. Kiwanis members, led in the charge by Kiwanian Ed Gilmore, worked tirelessly through the next two years to clear the land and create the park. The park was formally dedicated on July 1, 1991. In its dedication, commemorated in a granite monument in the park, it was dedicated to Henry Gerrish, a charter member of the club, and Ed Gilmore. At the time of the dedication Ed Gilmore received the “Maine Street 1990” Citation from Governor John McKernan for his leadership in building the park.
The Gazebo and Bandstand were built with the help of residents of Charleston Correctional Facility in the spring of 1989. This was initially located in what is now right field of the little league field here; when Steve and Debbie Boyd began building the little league field here in 2005-2006 Kiwanis made plans to move the gazebo to its current location. We also lowered it about three feet on its cribwork base with that move. The gazebo has been the site of many Kiwanis family events and recognitions. There have been dozens of weddings here.
The staff and residents of CCF have also helped us with building picnic tables for the family picnic area. We have had to chain these to the ground in many cases as they proved to be too portable. We would find that tables would be great for a family one day then be in the skate park as a ramp the next, or used to allow kids to ride their bikes onto the gazebo. It is amazing how versatile a picnic table can be in the eyes of a creative student!
The gardens were a part of the park from the beginning. Started by the Kiwanis Club members, early assistance was given by Grace and Howard Furlong in planting the gardens and tending them. At one point they planted over 900 tulip bulbs in the gardens. After the Furlongs passed away a brass plaque honoring them was installed in the gardens. There have been several efforts to rebuild the gardens over the past twenty years. Local Boy Scouts have taken on parts of the garden maintenance and rebuilding as Eagle Scout Projects. The late Shirley Gammon spent hours here with her husband Gene working to weed and maintain the gardens. In the past five years Kiwanis Club member Jody Arno has dedicated countless hours leading other Kiwanians in rebuilding the gardens and maintaining them. We hope that you are able to enjoy the gardens in the park.
The original playground was made of pressure-treated wood and served kids well for its lifetime in Dover-Foxcroft. However, the durability of the wood in those park designs failed to be as good as expected. There were pockets in the tires which made great homes for bees, and the wood eventually deteriorated to the point where slivers became the norm. By the late 1990’s it became apparent that the wooden park was becoming a liability; a new playground built at Morton Avenue with modern playground equipment was becoming a popular alternative to ours here. Between 2000 and 2003 the Kiwanis Club, with generous grant support from the Piscataquis Public Health Council and the Maine Community Foundation rebuilt the park with a series of new, safe, and non-wooden equipment. This revitalized the park and made it a center for families to return. The Kiwanis Club thanks Pleasant River Lumber for their ongoing support of the playground and the safety of the children who use it. Every few years as the wood chips wear down and need to be restocked they donate trailers full of chips for Kiwanians to move around the equipment and keep falls safe!
In the summer of 1996, after working with the DEP for several years and saving money for a major project the Kiwanis Club engaged Haley Construction to build the present dam in the stream. Actually consisting of two dams, one with variable water flow, this was a virtual engineering marvel compared to the earthen berm that it replaced. The remnants of the old dam remain in the pond just a few yards west of the current dam. This new dam kept water in place and allowed for more fish stocking by Inland Fish and Wildlife, but the pond itself was still a shallow bog.
In January of 2003 we were approached by Paul Johnson, the senior fisheries biologist from IFW in Greenville. He asked if we’d like to dredge the pond and make it deeper. We were able to secure a grant from the Maine Community Foundation which, when combined with club funds and generous donations of town trucks allowed us to deeply dredge the streambed in the entire park. This created deeper ponds which were more favorable to fish; the IFW began stocking the ponds several times a year and we have now become host to numerous “hooked on fishing” events every year. Our club champion for the hooked on fishing project (and overall Park patriot) is Jim Ellis. He has done a great job promoting this healthy activity in the park.
In the past five years the Piscataquis Public Health Council has promoted the marking of walking trails through the area, and central to these is the park. There are wooden steps from the Mayo Regional Hospital parking lot down to the park (another Eagle Scout project), walking bridges across the stream (each other Eagle Scout Projects), and well-marked trails along the old rail bed that connect to other walking trails in the region.
We wanted to make the park an experience for the families that use it. We had the gardens, the gazebo, the playground, the skate park, the ball field, and the pond. One of the problems we found was that you could not see throughout the park due to undergrowth and low-lying limbs on trees. Throughout the 21st Century Kiwanis members have had at least twice-a-year work dates in the park. Central to these early events was “raising the canopy” by cutting undergrowth and lower limbs on the trees so that you could have line-of-site views throughout the park. This is an ongoing process, but through this we have made the park friendlier, safer, and more open for families to use and enjoy.
The club welcomes you to the Park and hopes that you enjoy it. Please share with us thoughts you have for improvements! If you’d like to get more involved, consider joining the Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft—we welcome new members!