Help keep jewel of a park shining brightly

May 05, 2010 06:00 am

Azalea Park is Brookings’ crown jewel – a place that annually attracts thousands of people interested in quiet walks, family picnics, outdoor sports and public events such as Nature’s Coastal Holiday, the Azalea Festival, and the American Music Festival summer concert series.

Yet, the dearth of volunteers to help maintain the park is discouraging. Where are the people?

The park wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for hard, physical work of the few remaining volunteers with the Azalea Park Foundation. On any given day, visitors will likely find Azalea Park Foundation President Shirley Hyatt and board member Gil Kirk pulling weeds, hauling dirt and desperately trying to keep up with maintaining the large, sprawling grounds. They are sometimes joined by fellow volunteers , including Norma Fitzgerald, Sandi Lowe, Brian Scott, Dianne Hanson, and Deena Long.

Since the foundation’s inception nearly 15 years ago,  many volunteers have grown older and are no longer able to weed, hoe, and fertilize. To recruit new volunteers, the foundation holds monthly work parties. Few accept the invitation.

We know there are plenty of able-bodied people out there who love to garden, or simply love to play in the dirt. Any pair of hands are good hands. To volunteer or for more information about the Azalea Park Foundation, contact Hyatt at 541-469-6159 or Kirk at 541-412-7977.

Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV or playing video games, get yourself and your family down to the park and help make a difference. The few aches and pains you get will be well worth the satisfaction you get from keeping our community’s crown jewel shining brightly for all to enjoy – now and for generations to come.