By CHERIL VERNON
The Cars of Palestine members have experienced first-hand the great need for permanent restroom facilities at Davey Dogwood Park in Palestine.
The group has hosted “fun days” for classic car enthusiasts in the past, but not having restroom facilities in the middle of the woods can prove troublesome for holding any kind of event at the park, which is known for its rustic beauty.
“It came to our attention that we need permanent restroom facilities at Davey Dogwood Park, not to benefit just our group but the whole community,” Cars of Palestine President Candis Wells said Thursday, noting that’s how their Potties in the Park project started in the spring of 2012. “We foresee church and school groups being able to utilize the park more for field days and picnics — not just during Dogwood Trails but throughout the year.”
Cars of Palestine representatives were on hand Thursday to update the business community on the status of its Potties in the Park project during the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly mixer at the Willow Creek Medical Center.
“We have raised about $5,000 and have had lots of things we need donated. Palestine Concrete & Tile has donated the blocks for the walls. J.O. Kirkwood Sand and Gravel has built the building pad and Jerry Toole has prepared the plans,” Wells said.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice also has committed labor to build the walls.
Because both Anderson County and the City of Palestine work together to maintain the park, the Cars of Palestine has been instructed by these entities that an aerobic plumbing system that can handle 20,000 visitors during the park’s peak weeks of the annual spring Dogwood Trails Celebration would be needed.
“To be able to handle that amount of visitors, we need about $20,000 in seed money for the aerobic plumbing system,” Wells said. “We are getting ready to do a Chamber e-mail blast about our need of donations and will be working on fund-raising throughout the rest of the year.”
If possible, the Cars of Palestine would like to see the permanent restrooms completed before the 2014 Dogwood Trails Celebration in the spring.
The Potties in the Park project collected $63 during the Chamber’s quarterly mixer, which picks a non-profit organization to donate to for each event.
Earlier this year, a reforestation partnership between Anderson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joey Hill and the Palestine Economic Development Corp. resulted in 1,000 dogwood trees being planted at the park.
“Joey Hill, Commissioner Pct. 4 has really stepped up to take care of the park, working with county and the city to keep the park clean,” Wells said.
Cars of Palestine representatives are available to speak to civic groups and clubs about the project.
“We can show them plans on what exactly it’s going to look like,” Wells said.
Items still needed for the Potties in the Park project include: a slab (concrete, rebar, labor); plumbing (toilets, sinks, septic system and labor); doors, hardware and installation; electrical (wiring, fixtures and installation); roof construction; paint, mortar, etc.
Those who would like to donate to the Potties in the Park project online can do so on Cars of Palestine’s website where a Paypal link is available at www.carsofpalestine.com
For more information about the Potties in the Park project or the Cars of Palestine, call Sherry Kirkwood at 903-729-0403.