PHOTO GALLERY INCLUDED
Hundreds of families turned out at Wildomar’s Marna O’Brien Park Saturday morning for a gigantic Easter egg hunt that saw lots of local children scrambling across a grassy field to fill their baskets with goodies.
The annual free Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt provided the perfect venue for parks’ supporters to get this message out: such city events could fall by the wayside come June 7 if Measure D does not pass.
Wildomar residents Shaun and Kristy Martin, who turned out with their three children, including daughter Kaitlyn, newly crowned Junior , had no idea about the ballot measure that would allow formation of a park maintenance district.
“No, we didn’t know,” Shaun and Kristy said when asked if they knew about on the June 7 ballot.
If passed, the measure would allow the formation of a Community Facilities District and an annual base tax of $28 imposed on Wildomar property owners to pay for maintenance of the city’s three existing parks.
If the measure doesn’t pass, the parks could close for lack of funding, according to John Lloyd, chairman of the Citizens for Wildomar Parks Committee.
Many residents, like the Martins, are unaware of the parks’ peril, Lloyd said.
“They don’t know about the closures,” he said. “But when we go door-to-door and tell them, seven out of 10 are for (Measure D).
“The whole community benefits from parks,” Lloyd continued. “Without them, it hurts the local economy. Property values decrease, and businesses aren’t attracted to the area.”
Lloyd said his group will be going door-to-door again April 23 to garner support for the measure.
Wildomar City Councilwoman Bridgette Moore has been a longstanding advocate for the city parks and attended Saturday’s event.
“We’ve been doing the egg hunt for about seven years,” she said. “We did it when the parks were closed before. It was the only day the park (Marna O’Brien) was open. We pulled weeds and cleaned it up for the event.”
Barbara Marcus, a Wildomar resident who accompanied her 2-year-old grandson to Saturday’s egg hunt, said she supports Measure D.
“They can’t keep closing the parks,” she said. “Where else are the kids going to play?”
During Saturday’s event, several organizations were on-hand to raise funds and awareness for the parks.
Wildomar’s Boy Scout Troop #332 turned out to take photos of little ones with the Easter Bunny. All proceeds from photo sales were being donated to Wildomar parks.
Wildomar city officials, including Mayor Marsha Swanson, Mayor Pro Tem Ben Benoit, Councilwoman Bridgette Moore and Community Services Director Paula helped oversee Saturday’s egg hunt.
Firefighters from Wildomar Station #61 also made an appearance.
To help attract residents to the event, Star Car Central members brought their replica Hollywood vehicles to the park Saturday.
Lined up on the Marna O’Brien grass were lookalike celeb rides such as Herbie the Lovebug, the “Back to the Future” time machine, and a “Jurassic Park” Jeep.
Bakersfield resident Paul Nigh, who came to the event with his “Back to the Future” DeLorean, said Star Car Central members are actively involved in local communities throughout Southern California.
“We do mostly charity events – police, children’s hospitals,” he said. “It’s taking something that’s inherently selfish (the cars) and doing something that’s a little bit good.”
In addition to raising awareness about Wildomar parks, Nigh also participates in the Annual Fireball Run, which works to bring attention to missing children.
A girls youth group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--Wildomar Ward sold tickets to various activities at Saturday's event. Ticket proceeds will help fund a one-week camp scheduled for the girls this summer in Big Bear.