First responders and veterans to be honored at dedication
The dedication of Idypark is noon Saturday, May 26, where Jo’An’s, and before that, Eleanor Park existed.
Idypark, in the center of Idyllwild, with a 50-foot flag pole the focus of the park, will be dedicated to first responders and veterans, said Dave Butterfield, who is largely responsible for it.
“I feel we owe that to veterans and first responders,” he said. “They take a lot of abuse for things they haven’t done.” Many will be present at Saturday’s dedication, led by American Legion Post 800’s Honor Guard.
He and local realtor Shane Stewart began the conversion of the property last fall after the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
“We couldn’t have done it without the work of Shane,” Butterfield said, pointing to the man who oversaw the work.
The massive sequoia trees remain on the property. Butterfield and Stewart have found a registered arborist, Sam Knapp, to oversee their recovery.
“This won’t be easy,” Knapp said. “The soil was compacted so densely around the trees’ roots that water had a hard time nourishing the tree.” He added that it might take a couple of years to assess their recovery before the wooden fence around the trees can be removed.
Besides the flagpole and new stonework on the sidewalks, three young sequoias, which the Pine Cove Water District has donated, complete the park setting. While the younger sequoias are big — 30 feet tall and 17,000 pounds — they clearly have many dozens of feet to grow and years to live compared to the sequoias towering above the town.
The Butterfields — Loie and Dave — gave love and attention to this project as deep as the other gifts and investments they’ve given to Idyllwild. Just to move the three young sequoias cost more than $50,000.
Originally from New England, Butterfield said, “It’s not unusual to see a village square in the towns. Every time we looked at this it was a perfect place — a present for the community.
“There’s no place in town to just sit and talk,” he continued. “Here, the community can enjoy the village square and it’s always been a vision of ours.”
And to make it work, Stewart, who likewise is very passionate about Idypark, said, “It’s the details that make it work.”