More than 500 volunteers got down and dirty Saturday morning planting thousands of plants, all in an effort to reopen Wildomar’s three city parks.
According United Methodist Church member Tom Pilkington, who organized the massive effort, Saturday’s rehab took place at Marna O’Brien, Regency Heritage and Windsong parks as part of his church’s “Great Day of Service.”
“We raised just the right amount to pay for everything being done ... $65,000 total,” Pilkington said. “We’ve had amazing people come forward, not only [from] the area, but also from Orange County and San Diego County.”
Volunteers painted the playgrounds and planted nearly 5,300 shrubs and trees, according to Pilkington.
“We’re also going to be hydroseeding 250,000 square feet of grass and we have 856 cubic yards of bark to spread in the planting areas in the next couple weeks,” Pilkington said.
Many business “are donating plants and also [selling] us plants at amazingly low prices,” he continued.
Sharon Heil, 63, an event volunteer, said she has been giving back to Wildomar since 2000 and she wasn't about to miss Saturday's Great Day of Service.
“I’m very active in the community, everyone knows me by my hat ... I got all kinds of stuff on it,” she said, pointing to her decoratively adorned head gear.
Heil told Patch she and her 69-year-old husband, Richard, have been putting in nearly eight hours a day since Tuesday getting the parks ready for Saturday.
“I remember when we used to have Saturday night movies,” Heil said. “Any organization can go to the city, get a group area, and do an event.
“Invite the community and lets get back together, like brother and sister,” she said.
According to Wildomar City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore, the two smaller city parks will reopen sometime this December, but Wildomar’s largest park, Marna O’Brien, won’t reopen until January 2014.
During Saturday's event, volunteers celebrated their hard work during a lunchtime gathering at William Collier Elementary School in which Chick-fil-A donated food. --"Great Day of Service" story and all attached photos contributed by Daniel Lane.