By Matt Montgomery
Piedmont resident Paul Francel and F&M Bank President Eric Anderson spoke to community members last Thursday, informing them of their ideas of what a park in Piedmont would mean for the community, and how they and others would go about getting one in town.
Francel opened up the presentation explaining why Piedmont needs a community park and what makes Piedmont the ideal location for one.
Referring to information from various websites, Francel reiterated Piedmont was voted the best city to raise a family in Oklahoma, second fastest growing city in Oklahoma and Piedmont was rated the best place in Oklahoma to buy a home.
Francel emphasized that with a community park, Piedmont residents can play in a park with their children, walk their dogs on a walking trail and sit in a park and relax.
The details of the park haven’t be finalized and those on the parks project committee, including Eric Anderson, Rachel Bussett and Wade Harden, are working in their own ways to make the Piedmont Park a reality.
Some of the initial ideas brought forth by the committee include a splash pad, walking trails, playground, amphitheater, picnic area and pavilion, public gardens and an open park space. These were the top seven amenities Piedmont residents asked for in the survey.
In addition to describing the amenities of the proposed park, Francel and Anderson spoke about how to make this park a reality in Piedmont.
They explained that this is a grassroots committee and the City of Piedmont does not have the means to pay for a park.
They said the park will require at least three things: design input, donations and volunteers.
In regard to how the park will be funded, the committee said it will take the donated land from the Anderson family, in-kind donations (local business owners supplying their products to help build the park), monetary donations and fund raising efforts.
Other parts of the presentation included the “Design Your Own Dream Park” idea and choosing the park’s motto.
The committee asks for Piedmont residents’ input, because as Francel noted, it was the Piedmont residents who overwhelmingly said they wanted a community park, according to a 2008 Piedmont Parks and Recreation survey.
According to that 2008 survey, community pool/water park was the top requested amenity out of 15 proposed.
The parks committee will be hosting an opportunity for each Piedmont resident to “Design Your Own Dream Park.”
They instruct residents to take a blank 8 ½ X 11 inch sheet of paper and design what they would like as their “dream park.”
Anderson asks those interested to include their name, age, school (if still attending) and phone number on the back of the design.
These submissions can be turned in at: F&M Bank; Bussett Law Firm, Butterfly Gypsee or can be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designs must be submitted by midnight, Monday, Aug. 18. The top five winning designs will be prominently featured on a T-shirt that will be used as a fund raiser to help build the park.
Anderson notes, these designs will be used as inspiration but not as the actual design of the Piedmont Park.
On Thursday, Aug. 28, the committee will have a community-wide playground design day.
Leathers and Associates will visit the children in Piedmont at their local schools to get their input on the perfect playground. Leathers will take the information gathered and review the design that evening.
For more information about the Piedmont Park Project or how to help make this park a reality, please email ideas to email@example.com or speak to Eric Anderson at F&M Bank at 373-1600.
Editor’s note: This will be the first installment in a series of stories regarding the Piedmont Park Project.