Ronald Reagan Sport Park’s Treeline Memorial had a minor facelift over the past two weekends as volunteers associated with Kiwanis Club of Temecula worked to replace a vandalized park bench and made improvements to the walking path beneath the trees.
The memorial and the park were both efforts that Kiwanis Club Member Doug Blois has been a part of. Long before the city took control of the park and its operations, Blois was among a group of several other individuals who decided to make the park a reality.
Blois saw the project through to completion and was still there in 2002 as it continued to blossom into a place where Temecula youth and area residents commonly gathered. It was around that time that he originated the idea for a memorial treeline area.
“It’s basically a memorial park where people can plant trees in memory of their loved ones and then they put a little plaque on the ground right in front of the tree,” Blois said.
Over the years members of the community have been able to honor a loved one by planting a tree in their memory and the treeline area – which now has about half a dozen trees – is located next to walking path. Until recently the area lacked a place to sit. However, that’s something that wasn’t always missing from the area.
When the area was first constructed back in 2002, organizers placed a concrete bench for people to sit and enjoy the park if they’d rather do that than take a stroll on the walking path.
However, just a few years after the initial placement of the bench, vandals arrived in the park and smashed it to the point that it was essentially unusable, according to Blois.
The park has been missing a bench ever since that day and Blois, who recently rejoined Kiwanis Club after taking a decade break, said he decided it was time to do something about it after discovering it was broken. He worked with other individuals in the club to raise the necessary amount of funding to provide a replacement bench, which went to an area less susceptible to vandals.
“We moved it up close to a street light where lots of people can see it from Margarita Road,” he said. “Whereas the other spot was down in a hollow where it couldn’t be seen, and I think that’s why they took advantage of it.”
In addition to the bench, which was put in place Saturday, April 12, club members and community service activists spent most of the Saturday prior renovating and extending the walking path between the trees. The path had suffered some noticeable erosion from years of rain, so volunteers installed a catch basin and drain pipe to divert the water from the path. They also re-grated the walking path, making it look newer and making it easier for water to flow downward toward the drainage system.
The project took a lot of man hours in order to complete according to Kiwanian Dale Qualm, who said that between the various involved members there were 35-40 man hours to get the park path in tip-top shape.
Qualm said that the work paid off however and added that he was very happy with the end result both in the case of the re-grated path and the park bench at the end of it.
“Actually, the new bench has a much better bench than the old one,” Qualm said. “I think it will be a good place for people to sit and reminisce.”
Qualm added that being able to have that time of quiet reflection the bench works well with the memorial treeline and its intended purpose of giving people the opportunity to remember their loved ones.
However, in spite of all the progress that was made over the course of two weekends, Blois said the entire process wasn’t easy. He said involvement was low, with few people showing up to the park at any given time to work on the walking path and drainage system.
He encourages interested parties to perhaps consider getting involved with Kiwanis, which takes on a number of different projects that are community service-oriented throughout the course of the year.
“We are basically more of a hands-on club than some of the other clubs in the area and we do a lot of projects like this,” he said.
Next week the club will be headed to Lake Matthews near Corona to plant native trees and beautify the area.