By CORRIE PELC Arden-Carmichael News writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A group of concerned Carmichael citizens is hoping to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to help the Carmichael Recreation & Parks District (CRPD) develop and create Sutter-Jensen Community Park.
“We’re trying to build community here – that’s kind of the thrust of what this is all about, to have parks so that we can have little community gatherings there and keep it really nice and keep the neighborhoods nicer,” said Sandy Helland, co-chair of the Preserve Sutter Jensen Committee.
Making a plan
Helland said Preserve Sutter Jensen began about four years ago when the CRPD began looking to develop the Sutter Avenue park site.
According to Jack Harrison, district administrator for CRPD, a master plan was developed for Sutter Park, but there was no way to fund the development of the park. Because of that, the District developed two options – one that called for selling some of the land, and one that did not.
“Because the neighbors decided they could generate volunteer services or cash, the Board voted to give them a timeframe to try and raise the money, and if they were able to raise the money then we would not move forward with the selling of the land,” he explained. “So our position was we preferred not to sell any of it, and they preferred we didn’t sell any of it, so we agreed to work together and try to build the park without selling any land.”
Currently the Preserve Sutter Jensen Committee is raising money for Phase 1 of the master plan, which includes a trail that would run through and connect the Sutter park site to the Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden, Harrison said.
“One of the reasons we want the trail to go through there is so that the people from this neighborhood, all the people from Sutter Avenue and all on this side of Fair Oaks Boulevard at least, could go over to the Jensen Garden safely,” Helland explained. “And also it’s really dangerous walking on the streets around here because there’s no sidewalks.”
Additionally, Harrison said Phase 1 also includes an improved entrance to the Community Garden and an improved parking lot on the Sutter side of the property.
“We need to improve the entrance so it’s more safe for people to go in there and park at the Garden,” Helland added. “And there is a parking lot, there’s ground we use for parking, but it’s not paved or anything.”
Harrison said Phase 1 will cost about $130,000. Of that amount, Preserve Sutter Jensen needs to raise $50,000 in both cash and services by the end of 2012, and Harrison said the District will fund the remainder.
According to Riki Merrick, fundraising chair of the Preserve Sutter Jensen Committee, the group has been busy fundraising through the use of volunteer “street captains” for streets in the local neighborhood.
“They’re just walking around with some flyers and information about the park and talking to neighbors and trying to get donations that way,” Merrick explained.
Another major fundraising campaign is selling bricks that will be placed in Sutter-Jensen Community Park. “For a donation of $125 or more you can have a brick in the park with your name on it or whatever else you want on it – you could make it in memory of your pet or you could make it in memory of a friend,” Merrick said.
Art in the Park
Preserve Sutter Jensen is also using events to raise funds. Helland said the group had its first Art in the Park event in April, which was such a success they will be holding another one on July 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Merrick said for both events the group worked with David Peterson from the Sacramento Fine Arts Center lat the La Sierra Community Center, who holds plein air painting events on Saturdays, and was able to help them bring in artists for the event. “The idea behind the Art in the Park is that the artists come and paint or whatever other art they want, … and people can buy them throughout the day,” Merrick said.
For paintings that do not sell, Helland said the group works with local businesses to hang the remaining paintings to try to continue to sell them.
Additionally Helland said there will also be live music and food, plus they are working on adding children’s activities as well.
Right now Merrick said Preserve Sutter Jensen has raised about $43,000 in cash and services towards their $50,000 goal. To help them reach their goal, she asks the community’s support by purchasing a brick.
“And if you can’t afford a brick by yourself, maybe go in together with some friends and everybody pitch in a couple of dollars, get up to $125 and put a brick in the park for your bridge club or sports team or in memory of somebody that you would like to honor with a brick in the park,” she said.
Helland said community members can also get involved by joining the Preserve Sutter Jensen Committee, which normally meets on Thursday evenings.
“We would love to have more people come and show interest in it,” she said. “And we need more people to become street captains to ask people on their street if they want to participate in things and make donations. And we’d love it if somebody knew grant writing and wanted to help with that.”
For more information on Preserve Sutter Jensen, visit www.preservesutterjensen.org.