Monday, April 18, 2011

River's Park

River's Daddy was on our village board for the last 6 years. About 3 years ago, they were approached by some youth in our community to build a skate park. This has been a growing trend, a place for teens to ride their bikes and skateboards. Our village thought it was a good request and put Ben in charge of it. He was the youngest board member and they thought he would work well with the teens.

They began fundraising right away, selling lollipops, doing car washes, and spaghetti dinners. They began researching plans, Ben learned a lot about what was expected of a park. I spent a lot of time involved in this as well. We contacted local businesses for donations, tried to get grants, and spent hours determining the project's final costs.

The beginning of the park was the concrete slab, this was poured in May of 2009, the same month River passed away. This was an exciting step, because it meant the park was going to happen! There was still fundraising to do, but seeing that step completed was wonderful! It proved to the teens that they had power, they could make this happen.

The fundraising, was completed due to a generous donor in our community and the plans were finalized. A local company, Schaffer Manufacturing, was going to be constructing the ramps, and the fun box, complete with steps and a grind rail. Everything was going smoothly, and project was set to complete the spring of 2010.

It was shortly before Christmas of 2009, I believe that we were approached by our village president and asked if we would consider naming the park after River. The idea was brought to her from some citizens of our community. We were overwhelmed that they wanted to name it after him. We were incredibly honored that this little boy, who was in this world for such a short time had enough impact to make someone suggest this. It was decided by the Milltown village board that the skate park would be called River's Park. I was in tears, knowing that a park River would have grown up playing on was going to be named after him.

Once that was confirmed, we decided that project completion should be as close to River's 1st birthday as we could make it. This began the ideas for River's Run and Ride Rally. We wanted to include the grand opening of the skate park in River's birthday celebration. We did it! The ramps were installed on River's birthday, April 30, 2010. The sign was designed by a great friend, with help from Ben and I on the color and font to use.

This is River's uncle, riding the ramps on opening day!
I was in awe, this was an amazing birthday gift for our little boy. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony and the kids were enjoying the park within minutes. The park is not too far away from our home.We take walks by there frequently. I often think that I need to remind myself that it is real. I am very grateful to our community for giving us this gift, of honoring our son.


Mary said...

That is awesome Deanna! What a wonderful legacy (among others) for River!

Becky said...

That is so awesome that the park got named after River, that even made me cry reading that. Wonderful birthday gift indeed!

Tiffany said...

I have tears in my eyes! What a great tribute!

butterflymom said...

You and your family are always doing such amazing things in honor of your little boy. What a lucky community to have you and your family be a part of it. No wonder they wanted to name the park after River. What a blessing! :)

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