POMEROY — After hard work, fundraising and set up, the O’Brien Gardens, also known as the O’Brien Mini Park, was officially dedicated last Thursday.
Lights along the brick walls provided a soft ambience as 150 people talked, ate and enjoyed the music of Rustic Revival, who played songs before and after the dedication ceremony. The dream of renovating the park began last year in June, and has become reality in the span of little over a year.
Paige Cleek, president of Imagine Pomeroy, made opening remarks for the evening. Imagine Pomeroy is a group of individuals who seek to improve Pomeroy as a village. Cleek serves as president, with Brandon Bartee serving as vice president, Drew Reed as treasurer and Brian Howard as secretary.
“I hope you all continue to come back (to the park),” Cleek said. “It’s part of Imagine Pomeroy, it’s part of Pomeroy and it’s part of us.”
Cleek then introduced Evan Shaw, a filmmaker and producer who recently released the documentary “Our Town: Pomeroy,” which is a PBS series that will highlight different towns in Ohio each year. Shaw said he personally chose Pomeroy because it’s where he grew up and where he was proud to be from.
“It’s you,” he said about why he was proud. “It’s the people.”
Shaw announced that the documentary, which had a special airing at Meigs High School March 21, will air again to the public Sept. 17 at 8:30 at the O’Brien Gardens.
“Pomeroy is better today because of the park than it was yesterday, and it’ll be better tomorrow because of our park than it is today,” he said.
Paul Reed, one of the key sponsors of the revitalization, echoed Shaw’s remarks.
“This group is coming to together and making Pomeroy, where we live, work and play, better,” he said.
Lastly, Imagine Pomeroy Vice President Brandon Bartee came up and thanked all those involved in the project.
He told the story of how he and his wife, Rana Bartee, were told that if they move their business, The Bartees Photography, to Pomeroy they would be out of business in three years.
“It’s three years later and our business has quadrupled,” he said.
Brandon said this proves that Pomeroy is improving and continuing to thrive, and this park is one aspect of it.
“It’s not just about Imagine Pomeroy anymore,” he said.
According to Brandon, everything in the park, except the electricity, was privately funded, and discussed the decorations along the walls, including large photographs depicting the key sponsors along the wall, including a photograph made in honor of Dr. James Schmoll, who recently passed away, and his family. Bartee also thanked those for whom the park is named after — Jim and Roberta O’Brien. Jim used to be a lawyer in town and gave the park to the city, making the park possible in the first place. His children, along with the Schmoll family, all attended the event.
Two O’Brien children, Pam and Mike, said words in honor of their family.
“(Dad) said there is still life here, and it’s life worth saving,” Pam said.
Mike agreed and spoke specifically about his father.
“I had a dream about dad last night,” he said. “Maybe that’s what this is all about.”
Imagine Pomeroy encourages anyone who wants to rent the Gardens for events to contact Paige Cleek at 740-444-2801.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555