Volunteers repaint Little Red Schoolhouse

Philip Canaday, left, Edison Gomez-Krauss, Thaddeus Morton and Charles Cadwell volunteer at the Anza Civic Improvement League’s painting party at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Minor Park. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Volunteers and Anza Civic Improvement League board members teamed together to begin the repainting project at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Minor Park Saturday, Oct. 17.

The old wooden building was prepped for a new coat of bright red paint as workers hammered popped nails, reinforced loose boards and trim, taped up windows and draped drop clothes upon cement and foliage. Expert painter Charles Cadwell attacked the structure with his professional grade sprayer, covering the old wood in a protective seal of new paint.

“A big thank you to everyone who helped prep the schoolhouse at Minor Park today so ACIL president Charles Cadwell could spray her with a new red look, like a new dress on a beautiful lady,” ACIL vice president Philip Canaday said.

ACIL board members Cadwell and Canaday were joined by community volunteers Bud Elmore, Thaddeus Morton, Edison Gomez-Krauss, Birdie Kopp, Sharon Smith and Ian Evans of Imperial Roofing.

Later in the day, Anza’s Pizza Factory donated pizza and beverages for the crew, while Pat Whittle arrived with cookies to top off the meal.

Work will continue at the park Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 a.m.

“As if we didn’t already love our firemen, several of them have volunteered to help us paint the white next Saturday that we were not able to do this time,” Canaday said. “If you missed today, you can redeem yourself by joining us all again Saturday, Oct. 24, starting at 9 a.m. for a tape and paint party with white paint instead of red.”

Minor Park has been struggling financially in recent months. Spurred to action, Canaday said he has been seeking support for Anza’s park and Little Red Schoolhouse.

“In the last two and a half months, we have received at least 20 new memberships, donations from individuals, the Thimble Club, Heritage Well and even some anonymous donors. We have hosted free movies every Saturday night and earned money from the concession stand. These all added up to approximately $1,900,” Canaday said.

The funds were used to upgrade the park’s insurance coverage and allow ACIL to host up to 32 low-risk type events, such as the free movie nights that are currently being held.

“Thanks to Pauline Costi of Garner Valley who offered to buy us 15 gallons of red paint, and another contributor, we were able to purchase everything needed to paint the school house,” he said.

The Save Our Park committee and the ACIL need more volunteers, he said. Anza’s Minor Park is not a public park, and it receives no funding from state or county tax dollars.

“We would love to have family-friendly events every week and more park upgrades,” Canaday said. “As a volunteer you are vitally important for your ideas, your visions for park improvements, and you are greatly appreciated for your skills and effort.”

Canaday envisions plans to improve the park with grass, sprinklers, a jogging track around the perimeter with rest stops and workout stations, a shade canopy over the basketball court and possibly to the stage, regular weekend activities like movies in the park, dances, barbecues, basketball teams, horseshoe tournaments, volleyball teams and more.

“Our annual expenses are now greater than our annual income,” Canaday said. “If we don’t turn this around, at some point, the park will be unable to pay even its most basic of expenses, like our liability insurance. I am asking all of you according to your means for cash contributions, your membership, and I’m asking for volunteers to help with park repairs and maintenance. The park desperately needs contractors willing to donate their services, too.”

For more information on ACIL events, visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnzaCivicImprovementLeague/ or http://anzacivic.org/.

For more information, contact Philip Canaday at 951-809-7604 or Debi Vesey at 951-764-4296.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.