Of the Baker City Herald

HAINES Haines residents, students and community leaders worked hard to prepare their city's parks for the Fourth of July celebration.

They shared their parks proudly and weren't afraid to ask visitors for a little help.

At the north end of town, in front of the Cascade Utilities building, Haines School students and members of the Parent Teacher Community Organization sold watermelon slices and bottled water to benefit the PTCO's general fund.

Member Velma Hartley said the money will be used for field trips, special events and supplies not included in the school's budget.

Hartley was also helping with a separate fund-raiser for the Children's Peace Park.

She, along with the Peace Park committee, organized a silent auction to raise money for the five-year school project meant to honor the victims of Sept. 11.

Visitors placed bids for an antique manure spreader filled with flowers. Hartley said the winner of the auction will be notified on Monday.

The Peace Park committee also provided covered seating for parade watchers.

Hartley said the goal of the park is to show Haines students that they can make a difference in their community.

andquot;This generation is not well involved in community service,andquot; she said. andquot;We wanted to come up with ways that kids could be introduced to community service. We're really pleased with our kids; we have a good bunch.andquot;

Nicole Streifel, 12, is a student at Baker Middle School. Her dad, J.R. Streifel, added the horseshoe pits to the park on Wednesday evening.

andquot;My dad was really stressed about getting this done,andquot; Streifel said. andquot;I think he volunteers for too many things, but it's a nice place to stay. It won't get vandalized like the Baker park because there aren't as many people here.andquot;

Haines student Kelsey Day, 9, said he helped move rocks into the park this past spring, and he's excited to spend more time in the park andquot;playing around, playing tag, looking at stuff from the bridge and playing horseshoes.andquot;

He said the park is andquot;kind of fun now,andquot; but it will be andquot;really funandquot; when it is finished.

Hartley said the finished park will include trees, picnic tables, a gazebo, birdhouses and benches with tops designed by Erin Hansen and fifth-grade students. Hartley said the committee is looking for pictures of the old Haines gazebo so they can construct a similar one before the dedication ceremony on Sept 11 of this year.

At the south end of town, Elbert and Evelyne Fisher supervised a brick-selling campaign while they enjoyed the Fourth of July parade.

Elbert Fisher said he hopes the slabs of concrete across from the Sell Rite General Store will soon be filled with the bricks he is selling to benefit the 1880s Park, also known as the Dick Camp Memorial Park, named for the city's late mayor.

Fisher has been the volunteer park commissioner for three years. He has spent weeks this year irrigating the grass and killing the weeds. He also helped organize a two-day work session when inmates from the Powder River Correctional Facility cleaned and fertilized the park.

andquot;It gets me out of the house,andquot; Fisher said, andquot;and when this many people come to town, you want it to look nice.andquot;

andquot;You should give back to your community once in a while,andquot; he said. andquot;What am I going to do sit and watch TV? I don't think so.andquot;

During the 1880s the park was a place where cattle were loaded onto boxcars and shipped to Portland.

Fisher said warehouses that later lined the tracks were torn down in the 1990s, and the salvaged materials were sold to fund the park project.

Fisher's goal is to sell 100 bricks at a base price of $70 each. So far, he is halfway to his goal, and the project has raised $3,500.

According to the Friends of the Haines Park newsletter, Larry Fochtman and Vance Dix will construct a historic sawmill in the south end of the 1880s Park by the end of the summer.

A windmill, rock garden and mountain locator are current andquot;works in progress.andquot; And areas throughout the park are andquot;up for adoption.andquot; Adopters are responsible for weeding, planting and watering.

To volunteer at either park, adopt a plot or buy a brick, call Haines City Hall at 856-3366.