Jennifer Tolman, the secretary for the Vale Community Coalition, said Friday’s summer kick-off event will be a good place to have some fun and learn about a community effort to spruce up the town. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).
VALE – Strawberry lemonade, tacos, hot dogs and chorizos will be on the menu Friday at the Summer Kick-off Celebration at Wadleigh Park.
The event, sponsored by the Vale Community Coalition, will also feature live music from Mahogany Roots, Thump Wagon and Jim Stewart.
The Vale High School volleyball and basketball teams will have booths at the park as will the Vale City Pool and the Emma Humphrey Library.
“I think it will be a good time,” said Zach Knapp, coalition president.
Knapp – who teaches social studies at Vale High School – said the event would be the first major fund-raising effort by the coalition, a grass roots local group that wants to make Vale a better place to live and work. Knapp said the group is working on getting non-profit status and plans to tackle a series of local restoration projects.
Knapp said the group, which formed about a year and a half ago, wants its first project to be a walking trail around Wadleigh Park. Money raised at the Friday event will kickstart that effort.
“You go through all of those initial planning meetings, kicking around ideas, and pretty soon you have 500 ideas. So, you are like, OK, which ones are we going to do? At one point we just said, we need one project. Let’s get that one thing done and then we can move to the next thing,” said Knapp.
Knapp said the trail idea is still in its preliminary stage. There is no price estimate.
“We want to form some sort of trail along with some enhancements to the area like landscaping, things like that,” said Knapp.
Knapp said Friday’s event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. and goes to 8:30 p.m., is not just about raising funds for the coalition.
“Events like this are a way to enhance the community as well. We wanted to try to get everyone we could find who has something going on this summer that needs to get the information out. You know, this is what the pool has, this is what the library has, this is what parks and rec have,” said Knapp.
The coalition consists of a 12-member board, including four officers. Along with Knapp, Malheur Drug co-owner Jennifer Tolman is the secretary, Vale High School teacher Anne-Marie Chamberlain is vice president and resident Joe Standage is the treasurer. rancher farmer Rachel Johnson, said she wanted to get involved with the coalition to make a difference.
“I’d like to see improvements in Vale. I would like to better our community any way I can,” said Johnson. “This is us telling the community that we exist, and this is what our goals are.”
Tolman said the free event Friday is also a way to get feedback from the community. Information sheets will be available for the public to write down ideas. Tolman said the coalition would then use that information to help chart its future.
“We are working on getting everything in place before we move forward,” said Tolman.
Knapp said he hopes the Friday gathering will set the stage the future.
“Hopefully it will become an annual thing, a fun, relaxed way to kick off the summer,” said Knapp.
Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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