Fees park pride of Gas

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken


Gas city employees Bill Matlock, left, and Pat Long work together this week with City Superintendent Steve Robb (not pictured) as they construct a new shelter at the Walter and Fees Memorial Park on the west edge of Gas.
From left, Adelina Holloway, Jeannie McKarnin and Pat Spencer are among the Gas residents who volunteer their efforts to add new attractions and maintain the Walter and Helen Fees Memorial Park.

GAS — It’s become the gift that keeps on giving — and growing.
The Walter and Helen Fees Memorial Park, built along U.S. 54 on the west edge of Gas, continues to grow as more and more volunteers donate to the cause.
Fees Park Committee’s latest venture — seeking funds to build a walking bridge across a low-lying slough — means a new round of merchandise, said committee member Pat Spencer.
In this case, shirts, coffee mugs and other souvenirs wil be affixed with one of two slogans: “Toot Toot! You just passed Gas” and “What a Relief It Is to Pass Gas.”
The slogans were provided by students at the ANW Co-op Elementary Day School, Spencer said. The school will receive a $25 prize.
Spencer said the goal is to have the swinging bridge in place sometime over the winter before the committee sets its sights on its next project, finding a grant that would enable the city to install a new surface on the park’s quarter-mile walking trail.
Spencer wants to put in rubber material made of recycled tires for the walking trail.

FEES PARK got its origins in 2002 when descendants of the late Walter and Helen Fees donated the land to the city for the purpose of building the park.
In short order, volunteers organized to form a committee to develop the park.
“We had done the Gas Centennial Celebration a few years earlier,” Spencer said of the committee members. “We were happy to help.”
Since then, the park has grown in leaps and bounds. Crews erected a fence in 2002 and built a shelter house a year later.
Playground equipment was installed in 2004 and the park was officially dedicated in 2005.
From there, several trees have been planted, many courtesy of Modern Woodmen of America, and restroom facilities were added.
Two more shelters were built this month as well.
“Getting that bridge in place will be big because it connects the two sides,” Spencer said. “It’s hard to get over there when it’s wet outside.”

THE PARK’S hillside terrain provides a picturesque backdrop for family reunions, parties or a simple place to relax, Spencer said.
Just as importantly, a utility pole near one of the shelters provides electricity.
“I’ve heard a few comments that people won’t hold reunions there because they need electricity,” Spencer said. “We have it.”
Spencer is joined on the park committee by Adelina Holloway, Lisa Holloway, Larry and Shirley Robertson and Mary LaCrone. Jeannie McKarnin also became involved and has donated more trees to be planted, Spencer said.
“The entire community has been very helpful,” Spencer said. “If you want a hand, all you have to do is call and they show up.”
In addition to the souvenir sales — available locally at Pump ‘’N Pete’s and the Bank of Gas — the committee has planned another community garage sale later this month and a barbecue feed in November.
And even after the new bridge and trail projects are complete, the group won’t slow down its fund raising.
“We still want to get more playground equipment,” Spencer said. “And after that we want to keep money for maintenance and upkeep. There’s no retiring from this.”