Park dedication improves quality of life in Seneca “http://www.wcsjnews.com/content/tncms/live//Local News” wcsjnews.com

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The village of Seneca hosted an inauguration and inauguration of the Graves Family Park on Saturday 3rd July.

In connection with the grand opening, the inauguration of the Peg Davis softball field, the Fran Kasten baseball field and the Bill Steep pavilion / concession stand also took place.

Mayor Jeff Olson thanked the many people who made the Graves Family Park possible.

He also thanked the members of the Seneca Park board of directors.

Other speakers were Jeff Maierhofer, Fran Kasten, Joe Green, Larry Walker and Terry Rooney.

Kate Reynolds’ story:

It was a lovely Saturday (July 3rd) for the 15.69 acre Graves Family Park inauguration in Seneca. About 200 people attended the ceremony and everyone smiled proudly as they listened to Mayors Jeff Olson, Jeff Maierhofer, Fran Kasten, Joe Green, Larry Walker and Terry Rooney, who talked about everything from the history of the park and past board members to Memories of the past and the hard work and dedication it took to create the Graves Family Park.

Ernie and Sandy McGeorge stood in the sun and watched all the people sitting and walking around under the dugout. Ernie was a founding member of the Seneca Parks and Recreation Board.

“It took a long time,” said McGeorge. “All the ball fields, the animal shelter and everything that the volunteers in the village have done are just fantastic.”

“I am just proud today for our community and for everyone who helped make this day possible,” said Fran Kasten, former chairman of the board and current member of the Seneca Regional Port Authority. (Kasten retired from the Park Board earlier this year. Melissa Klicker is the current president.)

Sharon and Larry Walker have been very good friends of Kasten for 30 years. “Fran has always worked hard for our community,” said Sharon. “He loves Seneca and has worked hard to make Graves Park a reality.”

David Higgins, Commissioner for Public Health and Safety, has dedicated a lot of time to projects across Seneca, including Graves Park.

“There is sure to be a nice park for our residents to enjoy. I mow the grass here every week and it’s great to see all the volunteers and their hard work come to this. There is even additional land for maybe a pool in the future. I think this park contributes so much to our community. “

A little Graves Park story:

In November 2013, the Seneca Port Authority loaned the Park Board $ 100,000 through an Open Space Land Acquisition Grant. In late 2014, the board also received an Oslan grant of $ 214,000. In January 2015, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) notified the board that the grants were withheld due to government financial difficulties. It took 16 months for the scholarship to be paid out. In January 2017, the board received a $ 10,000 grant from Commonwealth Edison. In 2017, Seneca Township High School students from the Construction and Commercial Department drew up a preliminary parking plan.

Special Park Tributes:

There are two donated baseball and softball scoreboards at Graves Family Park. A Seneca resident donated the baseball field board; the Peg Davis Seneca Civic Fund donated the board of the softball field. There are official names for the two fields. The baseball field is named after Fran Kasten, who said he was surprised when he heard the news; Peg Davis Field is the official name of the softball field.

Margaret “Peg” Davis donated 150 acres of her property to a geographic interest fund that benefited the village of Seneca, Illinois. The foundation owns the land (in Keep Grundy Growing, LLC) and half of the net proceeds from annual crop sales go towards making grants in Seneca.

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