In pre-dawn hours, the golden glow of lighting draws the attention of commuters, parents transporting school students and workers as they pass by. Curiosity as to what is developing has reached the ears of those supporting the library’s programs.
With the help of the Friends of the Library, a landscaped park with pavilion is developing with many exciting potential uses. Even now, it could be used by library patrons as a shady area where they can access the library’s WiFi Internet connections via their laptops and/or have lunch. As spring approaches, it is anticipated it will become more popular.
Michelle Hughes of the board of the Friends of the Library presented an idea to the group in 2011 to turn the space formerly occupied by the Library Activities Building (also called the Library Annex) into a useful and attractive area which will benefit the community as well as the library.
The initial idea floated by Ms. Hughes for the Park Project was to provide an outdoor and secure area for the reading program presentations. After the board endorsed the project, the Upshur County Commissioners Court also unanimously approved the project.
The County Court supervises library activities and pays staff salaries. Part of the enthusiastic support came after the assurance that this would be a project paid for by the Friends or volunteer contributions.
Four lacy bark elms from Tree Town USA were planted in the spring of 2011 as the first step toward developing the park. Tree Town USA, located 15 miles west of Gilmer on Hwy 154, is the largest producer of container-grown trees in America.
Next, the board turned to the Home and Garden Center of Longview to develop the landscaping plan, which includes a pavilion for use during programs and other activities. The open-air structure provides relief from the elements, whether the broiling Texas sun or moderate rains.
Mike Holt built the pavilion, and Hill Electric installed the lighting and electrical services.
To protect against children suddenly running out toward the nearby highway, Lee Tillman Fence and Construction installed fencing around the lot. For similar reasons, the Friends added a railing around three sides of the Pavilion.
Soon, Dean Haws will install water lines/faucets for watering the park, and Augustin Pena will begin handling the rest of the landscaping.
Members of Beta Sigma Phi have approached the Friends about planting a Memorial Rose Garden. Donations will be accepted for a rose to be given in remembrance of Civic Club members and outstanding Upshur County citizens.
Another area will be set aside as a children’s garden, in connection with library program activities. In this garden, children will experience growing plants and food, learning as they watch the progress.
For now, the Friends of the Library eagerly look forward to holding their annual plant sale in the park on April 5, and continuing to watch the progress in the park.
Donations will be accepted for benches, trash containers, and memorial bricks/stones, etc., which will be available to purchase. Watch for further information as these projects become available.