Donovan Park

Photo contributed

The 9th Annual “Friend-raiser” will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 12 at Donovan Park. The annual event raises money for the park’s maintenance fund.

Watseka’s only non-tax supported park is having its annual “friend-raiser” Oct. 12.

Usually conducted in association with Homecoming and Alumni Banquet festivities in Watseka, the Donovan Park “Friend-raiser” will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 12.

This is the ninth year for the event. Pork burgers, chips, cookies, lemonade and water will be offered for a free will donation. All donations will go to the park maintenance fund.

Park board trustee Andy Guimond said that the park sees a lot of activity throughout the year. There are basketball hoops, swings, and other playground equipment, as well as benches and places for relaxation.

During a storm earlier this year a tree near the South Fourth and Mulberry corner of the park fell, damaging the memorial and a bench. The tree damage has been cleaned up and the board is looking to repair the memorial and bench.

Guimond said they have a lot of support from the community, which they appreciate.

This is the second year for the second basketball hoop at the park. John and Marcy Hutchinson and Iroquois Farmers State Bank made that possible, he said.

“I drive by there every day and see kids playing basketball,” he said.

Guimond said along with the Hutchinsons and Iroquois Farmers State Bank, other “special friends” of the park are JD and Julie Eilers, First Trust and Savings Bank, Craig and Joyce Franklin, Sheriff Derek Hagen and Nick Arie.

Nestled in the South Fourth Street/Mulberry Street neighborhood, Guimond said the neighbors are patient about the activity at the park as the youths play. “It really provides a safe place for the kids to be,” he said. The trustees are mindful of the curfew, he said, which is at dusk and is strictly enforced.

The trustees also appreciate the many other friends who help the park and take part in events like the Oct. 12 “Friend-raiser”. The money will go to good use, he said. Because the park does not receive tax dollars, the board comes up with ways to raise funds. The annual “Friend-raiser” is a popular one.

“It certainly helps,” he said. The money will go toward maintenance like mowing, raking and cleaning the park, and other tasks that need done.

They have talked about having some other events at the park throughout the year, he said. One that has been discussed, but not finalized, is possibly having events around the July 4 holiday, such as a corn hole tournament, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a car show.

Guimond said they invite the public to attend the Oct. 12 event and enjoy the park. As it is Homecoming and Alumni Banquet time, he said it is “a great place to sit and reminisce if you are coming home.

“Sitting on a bench at Donovan Park is something to look forward to,” he said.

Other trustees of the park board are Dick Arie, Jennifer Dixon, Liz Martin and Erick Starkey.