By CAT ROBERTSON
It promises to be an electrifying day at the Green Valley Lake community garden next week as several residents are set to witness the flipping of a switch to bring light to the garden which lies in the heart of town.
It’s been a long time coming, and having electricity will make things easier and much more festive at the garden.
Sandi Huckaby is one of the community members who has invested blood, sweat and tears to make the garden a beautiful place to gather, celebrate and get to know each other. Currently, they must use a generator, which can be a costly nuisance to operate, but all of that will change very soon.
Last month a GoFundMe page was set up and community members stepped up and donated enough money to get electricity set up at the garden.
“Dean Langley is a retired electrician from the railroad, and he knew the ins and outs,” Huckaby said. “He did a lot of the work to get everything set up. It took a couple of months to get the electricity set up, and once we decided to do it and raised the money, it was very quick.”
Huckaby explained that now they will be able to have lights at night as well as many other uses for the electricity. “We’ll be able to have not only security lights at night but motion sensor cameras to keep an eye on things for safety reasons,” she noted. “At Christmastime it will be nice to have holiday decorations lit up. We will be able to have concerts and we can amplify the sound.”
She went on to say there could possibly be a time when they get a food permit to have potlucks with hot dishes. But, due to permitting issues, that will not happen in the near future, but it’s something they are hoping for.
“It will be nice to have electricity when we need it,” she said. “In the past we’ve used a generator, and it will be nice not to have to deal with that. We can use electricity for heaters in chilly weather. We’ll find other uses for it.”
The colder weather will be putting a stop to the usual activities at the garden, which include teaching how to make mosaic bricks, gardening tips for kids and adults and weekly jam sessions where everyone is invited to come and play their favorite instrument or just sit back and enjoy the music. They even had their first wedding at the garden a couple of years ago. It was a beautiful affair with Shasta daisies, hollyhocks, delphiniums, roses and sunflowers filling the garden. These activities and more will resume in late spring and early summer.
Some of the garden’s activities will continue indoors at the Green Valley Mutual Water Company’s clubhouse located next to the lake. The plans for winter are to have events once a month including potlucks, music jams, bunco and any other activity people want to do, like barn dances and western swing dances. A Halloween party will be held for the local community on Oct. 30, and a Christmas party and holiday boutique are planned as well.
Beginning in January, music jams will be held once a month through May, and anyone who wants to join in and play music is invited.
AD HOC COMMITTEE
As Mother Nature forces the garden’s activities to be moved indoors, they are faced with new issues at the clubhouse. With the rent being increased and repairs and renovations needed, there was a public outcry, so an ad hoc committee was formed. The committee is looking into what needs to be done and they will offer a proposal to the water company board outlining some things that can be changed. The board will have a vote in November.
Huckaby said the committee will look at a budget, construction, repairs and communication. “It needs renovations and things brought up to code for ADA compliance. It’s an old building, so it could use a new floor. The acoustics inside are really bad. If you play music or sing, the sound just bounces. We need better acoustics. We need to renovate the kitchen and bring it up to par so we can maybe have cooking classes or potlucks and be able to use the kitchen.
“They might want to beautify it,” she continued, “and have a beautiful rock fireplace to replace the one that is there. Another thing is a new walkway connecting the clubhouse to the lake – a walkway that is wheelchair accessible. New lighting, and maybe take out some of the built-in benches and put in a seating area facing the lake where you can see the sunset. Just make it a beautiful building outside and inside. Right now, it’s kind of old looking. Not a lot has been done to it in the last 40 years.”
There has been a keen interest in square dancing and line dancing. Huckaby said people just want to get up and do stuff. “You can’t do much dancing because of the echo, without good acoustics,” she noted. “I think we have a lot of new people who would love to see the downtown area become more lively and more vibrant. They’d love to see things happening like it used to be in the old days. They hear stories of how great it was in the old days and they look at it now and it’s become like a ghost town. They don’t like that. They would love for it to become accessible to people of all ages. We’re working toward that goal.”
A survey has been created to poll the water company’s customers. One question asks if customers are willing to pay a small monthly assessment with their water bill for updating, repairs and maintenance of the clubhouse. It’s a quick and easy form to fill out.
The survey will be included with this month’s bill and it can also be found online on Facebook, Nextdoor.com in the Green Valley Lake section, and at www.gvmwc.org/customer-survey.
Huckaby is very hopeful that the water board will vote to move forward with the committee’s ideas. She said three of the people on the ad hoc committees are members of the water board.
“They’re all very good people and are open to everyone’s ideas. I do hope the water board will be pleased and maybe even excited about some of the ideas. I know I am. I think it’s going to be great if we get the funding and carry out the changes that need to be made.”