Officially closing off Windsong Park in Wildomar

Wildomar closes down another park

By Yazmin Alvarez

The city’s second park to close down is in the process of being fenced off. Fresh cement was holding up newly placed posts. But an error in building material left Windsong open to parkgoers for one more afternoon.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the fence material that was to go up was something similar to that of a wrought iron fence. However, after inspecting the material Tuesday as it was being installed, the fence material was not as durable as expected. “At least it gives us one more day,” said Luopa.

The decision to shut down the city’s parks, Heritage Regency, Windsong and Marna O’Brien was announced during a June 29 City Council meeting and came after a court ruling last year that nixed a $28 annual tax on residential parcels that paid for park maintenance. That eventually led to the June 7 election on Measure D. Had the measure passed, it would have imposed a maximum $28 annual parcel tax on property owners to fund a new Community Facilities District, paying for maintenance of the three parks and other public recreation sites.

The new fence, which is expected to be put in Wednesday, is a coated chain-link fence similar to what is already installed along the backend of the park. The more durable fence is an attempt to keep vandals out.
Windsong Park closure Wildomar closes down another park

But the park has already seen its first act of vandalism even before the fence installation has been complete.

The posts that were cemented in Monday were pushed over and had to be reset early Tuesday.

While graffiti and vandalism within Wildomar has been an existing problem, Oviedo said more of it has been seen since the loss of parks funding.

“Without the resources there to keep up the maintenance, the parks are left empty and unattended. The fences go up to secure it,” he said. “People need to start taking responsibility for their community. I eat breath and live to make this a better community. When things like this happen, it’s just very frustrating.”

“I’m really going to miss it,” said Luopa, who has lived across the street from the neighborhood park since 1998. “It just really makes me mad that they have to close down the parks. What about the kids, what will they have? They deserve to have a childhood.”

Luopa was among those who voted for the measure. She said her grandchildren and great grandchildren play at the park when they visit. She see’s mother’s walk their children to the park and caretakers take some of the elderly residents around the park track for some exercise.

“The park is used,” she said. “What’s $28 from residents to keep it open? I would gladly pay $40.”

But her real frustration is that the park will once again be an eyesore in the community. It was closed off once before already and she said she waited five years for it to reopen. Now, history is repeating itself, she said.

The city’s largest and final park to remain open is Marna O’Brien. It is used by Little League and Pop Warner teams. It remains open and is currently maintained by Friends of Wildomar Parks.

Windsong, the small neighborhood park off Prairie Road near William Collier Elementary, didn’t receive the same attention from Wildomar residents.

“There just wasn’t the community support needed to keep it open,” said Wildomar Community Services Director Paula Willette.

“We have to call this closure permanent,” Willette said. “There’s no foreseeable funding for that park.”

Willette said the only way the park would be reopened is if residents came forward and showed interest.

“But I don’t see council bringing it up at any time. Plus we’re not getting phone calls from residents demanding it to stay open. There are no overwhelming calls and it’s a little disheartening.”


Ms Langford and Carnaby Street in London

Guernsey shop owner hopes to build Old Quarter arch
Carnaby Street arch Ms Langford said she had been inspired by the famous London landmark

A Guernsey shop owner has applied for permission to get a Carnaby Street-style arch for a shopping centre on the island.

She said she hoped it would define the Old Quarter in St Peter Port by giving it a formal entrance.

Ms Langford said the aim was to have something made from wrought iron to be in keeping with the area.

She said the idea had the support of other shop owners in the area and the Town Centre Partnership.


The 12th annual Dickens Holiday in downtown Fayetteville

Thousands dress up, celebrate the start of the holiday season in downtown Fayetteville

By Chick Jacobs

Ebenezer Scrooge handled his role as Victorian celebrity with the proper curmudgeonly disdain. But even that snarling sourpuss could find little to complain about Friday as more than 10,000 people gathered to officially welcome the Christmas season downtown.

“It’s been a gorgeous day, and people have responded wonderfully,” said Deborah Martin-Mintz, the executive director of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “People want to get out and enjoy the weather, and get into the spirit of the season.”

The 12th annual Dickens Holiday drew people looking for a brief break from leftover turkey sandwiches and the mind-numbing mobs of Black Friday. For one evening in downtown Fayetteville, they could share the street with characters straight out of a Victorian setting.

That included Queen Victoria herself, who officially opened the holiday season from the balcony of the Market House.

OK, so it wasn’t really the queen, any more than the real Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley grudgingly posed with passersby. And that wasn’t really Elvis Presley performing for fans in The Shops at 214 Hay Street. But for one evening, it was fun to pretend.

“It’s been a busy day, a lot busier than usual,” said Aneta Brewer, who owns The Burlap and Poppy Shoppe on Hay Street. “We’ve had a lot of people who’ve come in browsing.

“It may not be as hectic as Black Friday, but I think it’s a lot more enjoyable,” Brewer said.

The sounds and sights of a long-ago Christmas echoed down the side streets, from the clip-clop of horse hooves carrying passengers to the Coventry Carolers and the rhythmic rumbling of a Tuba Christmas inside Hay Street United Methodist Church.

On every corner, street vendors offered spiced cider and gingerbread cookies along with handmade arts and crafts.

Wrought iron artist Jason Thomas of Gray’s Creek hammered on a century-old anvil, delighting spectators as he created art from iron.

“I couldn’t do some of the more intricate stuff here,” he said, nodding to ornate ironwork he was offering for sale. “But a lot of the kids, they’ve never seen someone work on an anvil before.”

The stars of the event were characters plucked from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Bob Crachit and Tiny Tim blessed everyone within earshot, but like a bad-guy wrestler, everyone wanted to be seen with Scrooge.

“Bah! Humbug!” was the usual response from Scrooge, known in the real world as George Quigley. But inevitably he’d stop long enough for a photo, his shock of white hair and red-and-white nightshirt making a daring fashion statement.

Shortly after sunset, a lone bagpiper played “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” and thousands of people lit their candles and strolled down Hay Street. The crowd stood three streets deep as local dignitaries, then Queen Victoria herself, welcomed the holiday season.

Following a crowd countdown, the street was flooded with Christmas lights and a cascade of fireworks.

The one-day event was originally intended to draw people downtown in 2000 to see how redevelopment had changed the city’s center. About 1,000 people attended that first year.

Now, the number has swelled more than 10-fold.

“It’s built every year, Martin-Mintz said. “Now it’s an event people look forward to. They want to bring their children and share the experience.”


Sensory garden in Sanders Park for Bromsgrove Rotary Club

Rotary launches Sanders Park sensory garden appeal

Tristan Harris

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by Bromsgrove Rotary Club in a bid to build a new £70,000 community sensory garden in Sanders Park.

The plans for the plot, which is being supported by Bromsgrove District Council, include a central wrought-iron wishing well with safe shallow canal spokes running from it, so it takes on the shape of the Rotary Club’s wheel logo. Those channels and the well will be surrounded by a variety of sensory plants and shrubs, as well as memorial benches.

The Rotary Club has contributed £40,000 so far to the project, but it is looking to raise another £30,000 to complete it.

Consultations on the design have been held with local youngsters, including disabled people, so the garden can support their recreational and educational needs, as well as being easily accessible to those with reduced mobility.

Labour is being provided by park volunteers, the district council and the probation services and it is hoped work on the site will begin in the new year.

Among the fund-raising opportunities are sponsorship of the supply of plants, entry on a Rotary scroll of honour and there is also the chance for donors to be key sponsors of the scheme.

Bromsgrove’s Rotary Club president Ken Pheysey has contacted The Standard to appeal for help with the project.

“We want to build this garden to benefit everyone using Sanders Park – it could last for generations and we need your help to make it happen,” he added.

Those wanting to donate can send their contributions to: ‘The Rotary Club of Bromsgrove’, C/O Beaumont Lawns, Marlbrook, Bromsgrove. B60 1HZ.


Restored trolley line Car 411

Fort Worth
Restored trolley line car will have new home in Burleson

By Gordon Dickson

After 16 years of restoration effort, Car 411 from the old Interurban rail line will soon have a new home. The historical rail car is being moved from Fort Worth to Burleson.

“I believe it’s going to a good home,” said Lee Lavell, who worked for years as both a volunteer and employee of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority to restore the car to its original luster, logging hundreds of hours in a back lot of the T’s headquarters on East Lancaster Avenue. “I’m a little disappointed it’s leaving Fort Worth. But believe me, they tried to find a place for it. It’s going to sit at the last remaining Interurban station that still exists, and it’s not far from Fort Worth.”

The T board approved a proposal last week to move Car 411 to the Burleson Visitors Center, where it will be put on permanent display alongside another rail car. The T, using a $220,000 federal grant, spent several years restoring the rail car and enlisted the help of dozens of volunteers, who collectively logged 9,200 hours on the project, Lavell said.

But once the work was complete, the T struggled to find a permanent place to display it. A similar Interurban vehicle, Car 25, has been on display at the Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Fort Worth since 2003 and will remain there.

In their heyday, cars 411 and 25 ran on the Interurban, an electrified long-distance trolley line operated by North Texas Traction Co. that connected Fort Worth to Arlington, Dallas and many other North Texas cities. The Interurban ferried riders at speeds of up to 70 mph, offering an ornate setting and a blue-collar form of pre-World War II luxury.

But after the Interurban ceased operation in late 1934, much of its fleet was lost to history. A banker moved cars 25 and 411 to a farm near present-day Eagle Mountain Lake. There, they, along with another Interurban vehicle, Car 407, served for many years as lakeside housing, with the rail cars laid out in a horseshoe shape facing the lake. In 1995, the owner donated cars 25 and 411 to the T.

Burleson and Cleburne submitted proposals to take ownership of Car 411, and Burleson was chosen because that city’s heritage foundation had an immediate plan to place the car on permanent display, said Nancy Amos, T senior executive vice president. Burleson, a growing city about 13 miles south of Fort Worth, also had a stop on the Interurban line.

“They have an established museum with another rail car already on display,” Amos said, adding that Burleson officials said they can have the rail car moved by crane within two weeks, as soon as they’re given notice to proceed. “The Burleson Heritage Foundation is a support agency. They’re committed to a security system with an alarm and wrought-iron-type fencing, and they’ll put a historical marker on it.”

The cars were built by the St. Louis Car Co. after the North Texas Traction Co. placed an order in 1913, according to Interurban history on file with the T.

The cars featured inlaid mahogany paneling, stained-glass windows, a “ladies compartment” with wool seats and a “smoking compartment” with leather seats in the rear. The cars were originally dark green with gold trim and were repainted red, white and gold in 1924 when the Crimson Limited service was unveiled.

But the rail cars were stripped of some of their original treatments while used as housing near Eagle Mountain Lake.

“The people at the lake had cut a door in the side of a car. They had removed a stained-glass window and had cut through the framework of the car,” Lavell said. But he said an employee has replaced the wood panels and rewelded the framework, and volunteers re-created the stained-glass windows to their original shape.

“Fifty percent of the glass on the car going to Burleson is original glass,” he said, adding that volunteers reordered the missing glass from the original manufacturer. “It turned out the stained-glass company that originally made them was still in business.”

In Burleson, the freight car that is already on display, No. 330, is popular with school groups, said Leon Sapp, a coordinator with the Burleson Heritage Foundation.

“When it started running in 1912, the only thing between Fort Worth and Cleburne was dirt, and it took a day to get there,” he said, adding that the freight car often carried items ranging from dry goods ordered at Leonards Department Store to ice cream from Pangburn’s.


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