When I moved to Eagle River in 1983, downtown was primarily a large wooded lot scattered with bratty boys’ forts of hidden magazines and swords made out of sticks. Valley Feed and Seed was next to Proctors and the bowling alley was the place to be in the arcade room. Eagle River was booming then. Many new businesses popped up on Business Blvd that have stood the test of time.
My parents pondered the idea of purchasing the undeveloped property across from Garcia’s to create an RV camping park for our snowbird travelers to enjoy closer to where the community was bustling. Clearly that idea never came to fruition and since then, the town has grown and was blessed with Town Square Park instead.
In the true Rotarian Spirit, The Eagle River Area Rotary Club members practiced their motto “Service Above Self” and developed the idea for a community park in 1986. Many members and businesses took that motto a step further and applied their skills and connections that lead to the plan development, approval, building and finally dedication of “Rotary Park” now known as Town Square Park.
Construction began in 1989 with excavation work volunteered by South Fork Construction followed by electrical work by Meg Girard. An Eagle Scout project helped bring in the concrete tree ring. The all-important American flagpole was donated by the Elmendorf AFP line crew. Over the years, members painstakingly built the park by hand with funding through the Rotary treasury and fund raising. The park would not be as beautiful as it is today without the hands-on love that they put into it.
Municipality Takes Control
The Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation division took over park maintenance about two years after the construction was completed. Over the years, the Eagle River Area Rotary has continued to dedicate time and materials to keeping the park safe and updated on maintenance as the Municipality will allow.
In 2008, they dedicated a “4-Way Test” plaque to remind the community to be mindful of their responsibility to live ethically within our community. Placement was chosen to be in a place where youth and adults could come and reflect on their daily activities and peacefully make their decisions on proceeding with their lives.
Today, the community enjoys an open place to sled, skate, walk pets and play on the equipment built for our enjoyment. They can sit in the shade of the pavilion and socialize with the best of friends and feel comfortable that their children are safe to play freely in the grassy areas giggling and rolling around.
The Park Needs Your Help
As the years have gone by some maintenance has not been able to be completed and the Rotary would like to help fix that. This year they have hatched up the opportunity for the community to participate in a “Capture-The-Flag” type tournament with the Nerf Battle Royale!
On Sat., April 8, come join them with your best friends, family, neighbors and visitors to raise money to continue making improvements to the park. There is something for everyone to participate in for all ages from carnival type games at vendor booths to volunteer opportunities to help keep the games moving in each round.
Hurry though; space is limited and filling up quickly!
Challenge your co-workers or rival businesses to a team duel!