By: Bill O’Connell
If you build it, they will come. If you keep improving what you have built, they will come more often and probably bring friends. This may be a simplistic way of looking at it, but for the past 55 years, the residents of Metamora have been doing exactly that with their local park and it becomes more impressive and attractive every year, funded mainly by proceeds from the annual festival called “Park O Rama.”
“Every year we keep improving what people did in the past,” said Metamora Mayor Ken Wysong, describing some of the upgrades made from last year. “We changed the volleyball courts from one to two. Our five acres (on the west side) is for big soccer tournaments. We put walking paths all the way through the park so if anybody needs assistance or they are in a wheel chair they can get through the park.”
Metamora Park also features two modern-style pavilions, one with restroom facilities and both able to serve food with a large covered seating area with picnic tables. “We put down an asphalt walking trail that connects everything together,” added Metamora Councilman John Pupos.
This year’s Park O Rama started early with an 8:00 a.m. 5K run and a bicycle swap meet followed by a noon parade that traveled through the middle of town and on into the park. A dedication ceremony was then held for longtime supporters and contributors of the park followed by the serving of delicious chicken dinners. There were a variety of children’s games, a volleyball tournament, a soccer tournament, an old-fashioned base ball game and, of course, live music to finish off the evening.
Two years ago, Metamora added a line item to their budget for additional park funds for major projects. “Its very minor,” said Mayor Wysong. “That allows us to go out for grants. Without that you can’t go out for grant money.”
Metamora Park is very spacious and has great facilities. It will be very interesting to see what they come up with for their next improvement.
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org