O’Brien Mini Park renovations underway

By Lindsay Kriz

June 19, 2014

POMEROY — The O’Brien Mini Park is seeing renovations that will be complete as early as mid-July.

Imagine Pomeroy, the year-old group comprised of 12 members of town, in an effort with Vern Sladen of Three Oaks Landscaping, is about about to begin renovations on the park, which hasn’t seen renovations in about 15 years.

The Imagine Pomeroy group is made up of several parties, including community members who want to see changes in Pomeroy, according to Mayor and Imagine Pomeroy President Jackie Welker.

Renovations will include new canopy lighting, new chairs and table and a counter area with a roof covering and plug-in spaces for any electrical item brought to the venue. The area will also act as a Wi-Fi hotpsot.

A rededication ceremony will take place after the new mini park is complete.

The idea for renovations first came from Brandon and Rana Bartee, of Pomeroy, who are professional photographers and regularly photograph in the park. Brandon also serves as the Imagine Pomeroy vice president.

“We were just talking about how to make it a little more usable in places where there aren’t tons of venues,” Rana said. “And people can use (the new park) all year long and people can enjoy it.”

Brandon brought the idea to Welker, who did not immediately jump on board.

“When Brandon came to me with the idea, I initially said ‘Eh,’” Welker said. “My initial thought was that we’re already using the park, let’s concentrate on an area we’re not even using. But then I saw how much passion he and his wife, Rana, had and I was like, ‘Hey, if you guys want to go do it, let’s do it, let’s get it done. And here we are. So it’s great.”

In order to get plans moving, the group put in a call to Perry Varnadoe, of the Meigs County Economic Development Office, and he led them to get in touch with Robert Gordon and his colleages at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. For six months, the group and members of the school held organizational meetings, and Imagine Pomeroy began to send out invites to interested people, both in the community and across the country.

The park renovations are the group’s first big project, and they hope it adds to the community, Brandon said.

“The whole vision behind the park is to turn it into a useful space, turn it into something that’s two or three notches above everything else in town, because we want to kind of signal the direction we’re trying to go with the park in general. And we’re doing things very excellently and beautifully for that reason.”

Paige Cleek, Imagine Pomeroy “Queen,” said that the group has already raised much of the money for the park restoration, including Imagine Pomeroy t-shirts and engraved pavers for the brick path through the mini-park.

“People just jumped on board and started flinging us money, so we’ve had no problem raising the funds,” she said. “Everybody wants to see something happen, and this is just a start.”

T-shirts are still available at Front Paige Outfitters in Pomeroy for $20. Engraved pavers orders are available at Clark’s Jewelry Store and Front Paige Outfitters starting at $50.