We did not say why, but we were gathering information to use in our grant application to the Community Foundation of Burke County. We requested funds for eight benches to put along the greenway at the park. Your stories worked!! FVR was awarded the grant!!
Here is what some of you said on facebook —
Joyce Williams Long – I love walking but have a lot of problems with my legs and have to rest a lot. Benches on the trails would be awesome
Dawn Mull Smith – Benches would definitely encourage people to spend more time outdoors!!!
Beth Zimmerman Heile – While this bench was still at the park (pictured above), someone wrote to me and said – “I️ needed some alone time and found much needed comfort sitting on the iron bench, looking over the water and at Table Rock. It is truly beautiful there. I just wanted to say Thank you!! It helped my soul yesterday!!”
Carly Folger-Bumgarner – That’s beautiful! That greenway brings so much joy and catharsis to the community.
Tammy Triplett – We all need a place to rest out soul and talk to the lord. Everyone needs a seat beside a beautiful place like this
Cheryl Elliott McCarthy – Having benches placed along the Greenway would be beneficial for those trying to build endurance and not yet able to walk very far. . . and sometimes it’s just nice to sit and enjoy.
Chris Blake – I think benches are pretty essential to provide resting and contemplation spots.
Here is what we said in the application (Award for $7,051.89) —
The project involves purchasing and installing eight 6-foot benches along the 2-mile Valdese Greenway – currently accessed from Valdese Lakeside Park. An average of 80 people a day come to Valdese Lakeside Park from across Burke County. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds visit the park to walk and enjoy the views. If they had a place to rest, many would come more often and stay longer. Currently, people sit on the manhole risers, lean up against a tree or leave. When asked about benches –visitors said: “I love walking but have a lot of problems with my legs and have to rest a lot.” “Benches would definitely encourage people to spend more time outdoors!!!” “We all need a place to rest out soul and talk to the lord. Everyone needs a seat beside a beautiful place like this.” “I think benches are pretty essential to provide resting and contemplation spots.” McGalliard Falls sees approximately 75 people a day which will double greenway use when the connection is made with a suspension bridge.
The community has been giving to the Valdese Lakeside Park project (300-acre land purchase and development) since 2017 – over $700,000 to be exact. Phase 1 Construction will begin in December on restrooms, parking, greenway, a kayak launch, overlook and a dog park. There are no benches planned along the greenway. It will be like getting your first apartment and not having furniture to go in it. The community is enormously proud of what they have been able to do so far. However, the pandemic has left many businesses and individuals unable to donate and we need help. Please consider giving our community a gift and surprise them with the “furniture” needed for the greenway.
FVR has collaborated with the Town of Valdese Recreation Department to verify the need for benches and that the request is in line with the current park plan (see letter of support). We host Group Walks on the Greenway the first Sunday of each month. Some participants must turn back instead of resting and continuing as able. For one event, seniors brought folding chairs to sit and socialize as others walked by.
The benches will be installed by FVR volunteers once the greenway construction is complete in the spring.