Upgrades at Westwood Park attract more community members
“I would like the park to be a cornerstone for the community and for families to know that if they don’t have anything to do they can come to the park and find plenty for their kids to do. If they have a wedding, family reunion, class reunion or birthday party their first thought is to hold the event at Westwood Park,” said Buchanan.
Over the winter months, employees at the WCSD built 13 picnic tables and have placed several in the park. There are also tables at the Lassen County Visitor Center-Westwood Station, the Westwood Community Center and the Westwood Family Resource Center that can be brought to the park as needed.
A new deck next to the tennis courts with patio-style table and chairs helps create a family atmosphere. Buchanan said he has a big barbecue pit ordered that will handle large crowds.
This past spring, the district worked with the Westwood Little League to complete another playing field for team practices. There is a baseball field and softball field at the north end of the park for league play.
To provide activities for older children, Buchanan constructed a sand volleyball court. Beach sand was too expensive so he purchased a courser grade. It tends to harden when it dries after the sprinklers get it wet, therefore Cory Rickert, the WCSD employee assigned to park maintenance routinely rakes it.
Next to the volleyball court is a badminton court. Outside the park entrance, a Frisbee Golf putting green was installed.
To encourage play, Buchanan placed wooden boxes in each area where volleyballs, badminton equipment and golf Frisbees are kept. He said overall leaving equipment out has not been a problem, except the badminton rackets were broken. Because the rackets are fragile he may have to create a checkout system for the badminton sets. The WCSD also placed a box with tennis rackets and balls up on the tennis courts to promote play.
Construction of a small skateboard park on the west end of the tennis courts; next to the basketball court, is under way. The plan is to build a beginner half pipe and intermediate half pipe, a fun box and a couple of grinding rails. Buchanan said he is relying on input from skateboarders during construction to create a well-rounded recreational area. He doesn’t want to build anything that is too advanced because it would be too dangerous for beginning skateboarders.
The skateboard park is the last major project to complete this summer, said Buchanan. The district had about $8,000 in donations with which to work and there is no more money left for improvements. People began donating when an option to give $10 a month to the park and $10 to the fire department was placed on the water and sewer service bills. However, complaints from several residents prompted the district to remove the donation option from the bills.
Buchanan said the park receives about $10,000 a year from property taxes collected by Lassen County and that is used for maintenance. He added the park upgrades do not interfere with work in other departments. Kris White, a WCSD water/sewer technician, oversees the district’s water and sewer system and Forest Duerksen manages the fire station. As the general manager, Buchanan assists in all three areas.
Other areas are in line for capital improvements. Money from water and sewer fees is being placed in a fund to construct a new springhouse. If there is enough money, it will be constructed in the spring of 2009.
“Everything is working really well throughout the whole district,” said Buchanan.
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