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Dr. Miller project long on ideas, short on money

Upcoming fundraiser commemorates 9-11 victims, helps pay for park improvements

WHAT ABOUT VETERANS PARK? Dr. Miller Park may be the largest park in Genoa City, but Veterans Park likely is the most popular. It's the location of the pavillion, the tennis courts and most events during Genoa City Days. On Oct. 13, Park Commissioner Cheri Borowiec talked about the state of some park features, including: n Skate Park: There are plans to expand the size of this corner of Veterans Park near Fellows Road dedicated to the local skateboarders. Borowiec said she would like to see a half-pipe installed there. However, some of the wooden park ramps "broke down" and had to be removed, she said. n Tennis courts: Borowiec said she has been trying to find an inexpensive way to repair the courts. Although it needs resurfacing, she said the cheapest estimate came in three years ago at $21,000. "We've been trying to find cheaper alternatives ever since," Borowiec said. "But people still play on it. I don't know how, but they do." n Another mural: She said Brookwood fourth-graders are planning another mural near Nippersink Creek. Students painted one there last year.
October 20, 2010 | 08:46 AM
Genoa City — Cheri Borowiec has been the village park commissioner for so long she's not even sure how many years it's been. "Just say about 20," she said with a chuckle during an interview Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Village Hall.

But when you're performing a labor of love, you don't spend much time counting the years. Borowiec began an arduous task a few years ago. With the help of her Park Commission, among others, she set out to improve Dr. Miller Park, which is located near Brookwood Middle School, 1020 Hunter's Ridge Drive.

The commission created a long-range improvement plan for the park. Borowiec said according to the plan, these improvements — which include a playground, picnic area, dog parks and a BMX course — should take between five to 10 years to complete.

But there's a problem.

"We're kind of behind schedule because of the budget constraints," she said. "The village is trying to cover its own expenses and there's not enough left over for park development."

Borowiec said money — or lack thereof — is the main obstacle.

"There's a great plan in place for multiple things at Dr. Miller Park, to make it a family recreational area," she said.

Now, there also is a plan for Borowiec and her commission to help pay for park improvements.

Remembering with daffodils

Borowiec said she is conducting research on 9-11. She said she beleives between 3,200 and 3,500 people died during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. To ensure these memories live on for generations to come, the Village Park Commission is planning a special, unique fundraiser to occur Sept. 11, 2011.

"We're going to plant a daffodil bulb for every person who died on 9-11," Borowiec said. "For a donation, they will get four or five bulbs and they will be shown where in Dr. Miller Park the plantings will be. It's to raise awareness for the kids who were born after 9-11."

She said she wants this to be an event in which everyone — especially the youth — take part.

"We'd like to involve the students from Brookwood, the Flamethrowers, Boy and Girl Scouts of all levels, church youth groups — as many young people as we can," Borowiec said.

She traced the origins of the idea back to a discussion she had a while ago.

"I was talking to some teachers from Brookwood," Borowiec said. "(The proposed fundraiser) kind of evolved into a memorial garden project. Then, I thought it would be a good idea to plant flowers throughout the park."

The details still are being finalized. According to Borowiec, the Genoa City Lions Club will sponsor a breakfast soon at Brookwood Middle School at which patrons can make a suggested donation of $5 toward the park fundraiser.

"We can't even order the bulbs yet," she said.

Local youth groups which want to take part in it can call Borowiec at (262) 279-6472.

She said the plantings will be near the nature areas of Dr. Miller Park. The effect is expected to be long-lasting. "In spring of 2012, these daffodils will come up and be a significant reminder of what everybody did," Borowiec said.

All natural

Named after well-known general practitioner Dr. Clark Miller, the 25-acre park is, in Borowiec's words, "a true nature area in a more developed area."

"The very first thing they did up there was they cleared out the dead trees and created a picnic area," she said.

Picnic tables and grills were installed in the area.

Recently, Cooper Bohn made eight benches for the park by hand for his Eagle Scout project.

"That was a great project for him and it was a benefit for us," Borowiec said. "He's a really nice boy, really community-minded."

Last year, the Tom Holden Nature Trail was created.

"It's right through all the dense forest on the west side of the park," Borowiec said.

She said markers will be installed to identify various plants, flowers and trees along the trail.

According to Borowiec, there are unique shrubs and plants along the trail — not to mention a variety of wildlife. She said she took her granddaughter along the trail recently and they came across a whitettail deer which was "just standing there looking at us."

Borowiec said other wildlife which has been spotted along the trail include albino owls, red foxes and flying squirrels.

"They don't really fly," she said. "They have membranes between their limbs. But they're out there. We've seen them. They're hard to spot, but you can spot them."

One of the most often used sections lies at the southeast corner of the park, where people ride BMX bicycles.

"We're in the process of grooming that area where the kids ride their bikes," Borowiec said. "They call it 'The Cliffs.' ... For about 30 years kids have been riding back there."

The improvement plan also calls for the creation of two dog parks — one for large dogs, one for smaller ones.

"We're talking about having agility stations there, watering stations and of course making those little baggies available so people can clean up after their dogs," Borowiec said.

She said Dr. Miller Park holds a special place in her heart. All village parks do.

"The parks in this town are in my heart because these are the places where I took my kids," Borowiec said. "This is where my community service got started."

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