Master gardeners plan Schwartz Park cleanup

Posted 3/13/23

A couple of unexpected resources have stepped forward to make park improvements in Paris.

Master Gardener David Regan presented a plan for Schwartz Park during the Paris Park Board meeting …

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Master gardeners plan Schwartz Park cleanup


A couple of unexpected resources have stepped forward to make park improvements in Paris.

Master Gardener David Regan presented a plan for Schwartz Park during the Paris Park Board meeting Tuesday, March 7.

“There is a significant amount of pruning necessary, and it is getting overrun by invasives,” said Regan, announcing the Master Gardeners plan a work day 9 a.m. March 29 to tackle the problem. A rain date is March 31.

A major concern for the Master Gardeners is the presence of wild honeysuckle, which is pushing out the native plants in the park.

Regan said members of the group will cut the honeysuckle back and then attempt to dig it out by the roots. He acknowledged it may become an annual fight since there are areas where honeysuckle has taken over and the seeds are spread in bird droppings.

Another part of the cleanup effort may include inviting schools to send students to visit with the Master Gardeners and observe the work they are doing.

Chris Redman, superintendent of streets, alleys and parks, said city employees will help as they can, especially in hauling away debris. City equipment will likely be limited to the parking lot because the park ground is too wet to support machinery like loaders and backhoes.

“That’s why there are old, dead trees in the park, because the ground stays wet,” said Redman. “We can only get in when the ground is bone dry.”

Redman supported Regan’s plan to help Schwartz Park.

“If you have a fun time, I’ve got other parks,” said Redman.

Blackhawk Park is getting some loving attention from Kalieb Gallagher, who presented a plan for redoing the fence in the parking lot as his Eagle Rank project.

He explained some of the posts are rotted and need replaced. He plans to pull the posts, replace them with telephone pole segments and run cable through the posts. The goal is to keep vehicles confined to the parking lot and prevent them from driving into the park.

Redman said a city backhoe will help Gallagher, and his volunteer workers, pull and reset posts.

Gallagher presented the plan to the Paris City Council during the Wednesday, March 8, pre-agenda meeting and received an enthusiastic endorsement.

“We are happy to let you do that, and we are happy to help you get your Eagle Rank. There are few out there who do that,” said Mayor Craig Smith.

Linda Lane from the Chamber of Commerce reminded park board members Tuesday there is little time left to do a program related to what is referred to as the local Eiffel Tower. John Chittick fabricated the 21-foot tall art piece, which is currently sitting on a trailer waiting for installation at Kiwanis Park.

Redman said the ground has remained too wet to pour a concrete base for the tower.

Lane’s point is Chittick is leaving March 16 for the Peace Corp and will be gone for two years. She was hoping an acceptance or commemoration program can be put together.

“We need to do something soon,” said Lane. “The tower is dedicated to locals who have served in the Peace Corps.”

Park board members discussed having a car show for the two-day Fourth of July with Eastside Car Club representative Dan Briseno. He suggested doing the car show July 3, doubting it is possible to get many participants for a show on July 4.

Briseno expressed willingness to organize a car show at the West Park, noting the planned presence of food trucks and live music for July 3 is a positive draw.

“Everybody wants something for coming,” said Briseno, explaining a sponsor is needed to fund trophies and dash plaques.

Park board member Jodi Theirl said the park board can act as the sponsor if Briseno will put the word out and get the cars. The park board will vote on a financial amount for the car show at the next meeting.