New tables, bench added at Freedom Vets’ ParkWORTHINGTON — With a cool breeze blowing on their backs, several residents of South Shore Care Center wheeled up to a pair of new, handicap-accessible picnic tables inside the gazebo at Freedom Veterans’ Memorial Park in Worthington Monday.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — With a cool breeze blowing on their backs, several residents of South Shore Care Center wheeled up to a pair of new, handicap-accessible picnic tables inside the gazebo at Freedom Veterans’ Memorial Park in Worthington Monday.
In all, three new picnic tables and a bench were added to the park on Friday, thanks to a $2,300 donation by Richard and Barb Atchison, on behalf of South Shore and Crossroads care centers in Worthington. The picnic tables and bench were purchased from local company Bedford Technology and are made from heavy duty, recycled plastic.
“One of Worthington’s best assets is its parks,” said Barb Atchison, administrator of South Shore and Crossroads care centers. “We’re very fortunate at South Shore to have the Freedom Shore Park right across from us.”
Atchison said the park is often used by residents of South Shore because of the beautiful shade it offers during the summer months.
“We don’t have a lot of shaded areas on our patio, so we’re looking forward to bringing our residents over there and enjoying the lake up a little closer,” she said.
The new furnishings are the latest addition to the park, which received a new gazebo just prior to Memorial Day.
“It’s really a nice addition to the gazebo,” said Freedom Veterans Memorial committee member Mike Kuhle of the tables and bench. “We appreciate (the Atchisons) stepping forward with money and resources. Otherwise, we would have never been able to do this.”
The veterans memorial committee is still working to raise funds for the gazebo, which was constructed of long-lasting PVC and vinyl. Kuhle said the $10,000 structure was put in place in time for this spring’s Memorial Day program even though funding had not been secured.
He said the Lowry family of Worthington had donated the former gazebo, and the committee has started raising funds in memory of Fredi Lowry to help pay for the new structure.
“We’re looking for any and all donations,” Kuhle said.
Atchison said the gazebo and furnishings are available to be enjoyed by the entire community.
“Each of our parks in Worthington have something special about them,” Atchison said. “Freedom Shore Park is very, very special because now we not only have the Veterans War Memorial, but we have this nice little gazebo, we have the handicap-accessible dock — it’s kind of unique among the parks.
“Certainly, one of the reasons that we (supported the project) is just because we appreciate our freedom,” she added. “It seemed like something fitting that we could do to honor the veterans in our community who had served to protect and defend our country.”
This isn’t the first time the Atchison family has funded a project at the Park. About 15 years ago they purchased the lumber for a handicap-accessible dock, while the City of Worthington agreed to install, insure and maintain it.
“It was a nice opportunity for us to do this,” Atchison said. “We have a number of current residents and we’ve had a number of residents in the past who are veterans. That’s another reason why we did it.”