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Waynesboro's new Rotary Park at Wayne Gardens dedicated

June 11, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Jim Rock feels the stone seating area around the flagpole at Rotary Park at Wayne Gardens serves many purposes, not the least of which is "to look over this beautiful park, our gift to the people of Waynesboro."

Rock, the president of Rotary Club of Waynesboro, joined about 60 other people to dedicate the park during a picnic lunch Tuesday. The club raised $195,000 and spent three years creating the 10-acre park in the south end of town.

Donated labor, borrowed equipment and the efforts of special work days probably equate to another $100,000 worth of contributions, Rock said.

The stone area at one of the highest points of the park has the Rotary seal under the flag. That memorial should be used to reflect on the Rotary Club motto of service above self and to remember late Rotarians, Rock said.

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"Rotary Club members not only gave money, but also their time to build this park," Rock said.

Kelly Wike spoke through tears when addressing the crowd.

"I'm thrilled and proud of you. It means so much to me that you did this," said Wike, a past district governor for Rotary's District 7350.

It was Wike who, in 2005, challenged clubs to take on service projects to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rotary Club International. The Waynesboro club installed the electronic sign outside the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce on East Main Street and started the park in the heart of the Wayne Gardens housing development off Anthony Avenue.

"It's a big improvement over a field that only got mowed twice a year. Everybody's well pleased," said Ben Greenawalt, a Waynesboro borough councilman who lives nearby.

"This was a weed patch for 50 years. It provides a place for the seniors to walk and exercise and a place for children to play," said Allen Porter, who also is a neighbor of the park.

Council President Craig Newcomer said he'd like to see Rotary Park at Wayne Gardens connected to other area parks through walking or biking trails someday.

"It's a great asset for green space," he said.

"The county's main purpose is to promote the quality of life and preserve the quality of life. Parks like this are essential to that," Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner David Keller said, saying the park's 125 trees are especially nice.

The land was donated by the developers of Wayne Gardens who envisioned a park, but five decades passed before the Rotary Club embarked on the project, Rock said.

Now, the park features a mile-long walking trail with fitness stations, a basketball court, playground equipment and a large pavilion. Final touches are being made on the bathrooms near the park entrance.

Rock shared memories from one of the "many, many Saturday workdays." Rock, who runs a construction company, had trepidation when he arrived to work with 35 volunteers of different ages and skill levels in building the pavilion.

Rock said he was taken aback to see everyone come together and get the work done in about eight hours.

"It almost looked like an Amish barn-raising," Rock said. "It was truly something to see."

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