Wright, park team members turning ‘ghost town’ into a place of pride

Standing outside the park pavilion in Andrews are (from left) park team members Rick Wright, CJ Rohler, park liaison Linda Wright, Shirley Fisher and John Harshbarger.
Standing outside the park pavilion in Andrews are (from left) park team members Rick Wright, CJ Rohler, park liaison Linda Wright, Shirley Fisher and John Harshbarger. Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Sept. 17, 2012.

The park in Andrews used to look like a ghost town.

"Townspeople didn't even care to come up here," says Andrews resident and park liaison Linda Wright.

And it's not hard to see why, as the park had fallen into a state of disrepair after many years of neglect.

Since being appointed park liaison in 2009, Wright has done everything she can to change the park's reputation.

A climbing wall and tetherball pole were recently installed, the latest in a long line of additions to the park that have come under Wright's watch.

Early on into Wright's tenure as park liaison, however, subtraction was the name of the game.

"The back there was just totally overgrown. We had that all excavated," she says.

Wright also set her sights on renovating the rundown park pavilion, a project that the volunteer fire department helped realize by taking the time to work on it.

"A lot of volunteers and donations - and not only goods, but labor. Lots of labor," says Wright, have been key to the park's turnaround, and she credits park team members Rick Wright, CJ Rohler, Shirley Fisher and John Harshbarger with always being there to help her.

The whole process hasn't been without its obstacles, however. Vandalism, such as the recent theft of the ball from the tetherball pole, has been an issue at the park.

"It seems there's a whole new batch of young people that are testing us and we're not going to give up," promises Wright.

She praises homeowners who live nearby the park for keeping an eye on it and supports the implementation of an official neighborhood watch program.

Originally published Sept. 17, 2012.

While the park season may be winding down with the onset of fall, Wright says she still hopes to be able to install a water fountain. In 2013, residents of Andrews will have even more to look forward to, she says.

"Next year we'll have some new projects and ideas for improvements and hopefully some park-sponsored activities," she says.

While the park's transformation has been fun to see, it's been even more fun for Wright and her colleagues to see people using it.

"It has been more active here with families and so forth," she says. "And that's what we want to see."

Complete caption: Standing outside the park pavilion in Andrews are (from left) park team members Rick Wright, CJ Rohler, park liaison Linda Wright, Shirley Fisher and John Harshbarger. They have been overseeing improvements to the park since 2009.