To the Editor:
Will the music come back to Bluebird? Will events in the parks come back?
In 2011, people flocked to the grounds of the Carroll County Park District; their numbers steadily growing. Music filled the air almost every weekend. More than a dozen concerts—rock, blues, Christian, bluegrass, country, island, more—filled the beautiful grounds. Visitors and locals alike were stunned at the settings and thrilled at the concerts. Attendance grew as the season built. Guest after guest stopped me to say what a beautiful place Joyce Hannon had built; to ask about her story; to say, “Keep the music—and food—coming! We love it! And get the word out!” We worked really hard to do just that.
In 2011, walkers from near and far also came to both Community Park and Bluebird to use the trails. Visitors ate daily in the picnic pavilion. Soccer flourished; a summer activities coordinator was ready to engage more kids. Diners gathered on the deck at Bluebird Restaurant, ate, took in the gardens, relaxed and enjoyed friends, made new acquaintances. Events—like an Easter egg hunt, open houses, the annual fall festival, and Arts-in-the-Park—brought people from a dozen counties and farther. Steadily, awareness grew of the parks’ treasures. You can see pics at http://on.fb.me/MSO8rS.
It all ended in 2012. At Bluebird, the amphitheater was silent. The restaurant/tavern sits empty. At Community Park trails were impassible last summer; vandalism done the past fall was not repaired. The volleyball court remained in winter storage. After six years, Community Park still had no play equipment. A $50,000 partnership to build a soccer field was snubbed. Trash overflowed and littered the grounds. The laughter, conversation and pure joy heard daily in 2011 was gone.
As a leader, it was my job to make sure that the successes of 2011 did not turn into the emptiness of 2012. I’m sorry.
It needn’t have been so. We’d assembled an amazing team—over 30 great individuals at times. Proprietors Jim and Randy Simon had worked a miracle at Bluebird, along with Teri Fisher, Richard Small, and a team from Canton and here. $500,000 also arrived in the Park District coffers just as the projects we’d worked for years came to need basic attention.
The support we found in the community was uplifting. I can’t describe how gratifying your support was to me; the intense interest you showed in how Bluebird and the parks were progressing.
What will happen now? Much of the choice is yours. The Board of Park Commissioners hired a director from Cleveland. His first act: change the sign at Bluebird from “Closed” to “Open-Public Park”. A great start!
Will he be able to bring back the music, food and fun? Will Bluebird again be as it was in 2011? As Joyce Hannon envisioned it? Will events and people also return to Community Park?
He’ll hear much of the vision, dream, good heart, and endless energy of Mrs. Hannon. Of her pleasure at seeing people enjoying themselves at Bluebird. Too, he will hear much from parents and grandparents wishing for things to do—like adventure play—for their young people. Hopefully, the District will begin to reach out and work with the public; put people ahead of bureaucracy.
I hope you’ll support him as you offered us so much support from 2007-2011.
Now is the time when budgets for 2013 are made. Please, email, call, stop in at, tweet the parks office. Offer your opinion as to whether the events and music should return.
Park Commissioner 2007-2011