“Lemonade/crunchy ice/buy it once/sip it twice/turn around/touch the ground/save our parks and save our town!”
This is the chant of a little girl in Wildomar trying to help save the parks in her hometown.
In 2006, Wildomar voters agreed to a $28 per year tax assessment to fund the city's parks, but a subsequent court ruling invalidating the assessment has created an uncertain future for the parks.
When Kailee Carroll, 7, heard last year of the possibility that Wildomar would have to shut down its three parks -- , and -- she took action by starting her own "LemonAID" stand to raise money for the cause and help spread the word.
Since September, when Kailee stood up at a town hall meeting at Marna O'Brien Park to tell the public her plan, she has spent many late nights hand-squeezing lemons and many early mornings selling up a storm.
Kailee doesn’t mind, knowing she is helping a cause she believes in.
“Kid’s need a place to play,” said Kailee, whose favorite park is Marna O’ Brien. “If they don’t [have one], they’ll get bored.”
Kailee and her stand have earned over $1,000, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to helping save Wildomar parks. She gets a little help from her mom and 8-year-old cousin Shelbey Tompkins. She also gets some support from neighbors, who pitch in with lemons from their yards.
With upkeep costs of nearly $200,000, John Lloyd, chairman of the Wildomar Blue Ribbon Parks Advisory Committee, said the parks need all the help they can get.
“It sound like a lot, but when you break it down it comes out to $28 a year in taxes. Not very much -- about one Happy Meal a month. I’d rather see happy kids than pay for a Happy Meal," Lloyd said of a proposed annual tax assessment to pay for city parks.
While there is still much to be done, Kailee plans on squeezing until the last drop. Her next stop: The event is all day, so volunteers are needed to help squeeze lemons and help out with the stand. To volunteer, contact Julianna Carroll, Kailee’s mom, at (951) 375-0330 or by email Juliannacarroll@yahoo.com.