All that changed, however, when a group of residents reached out to the community — including local schoolchildren — and brought into existence the Felton Covered Bridge Park.
One of the last pieces of the park, a wooden kiosk at the entrance along Graham Hill Road, honored the volunteers who made the park a reality.
Twenty years later, the kiosk has fallen into a state of disrepair, as spotty maintenance has exacerbated the natural wear and tear of time.
“It’s falling apart,” said Vicki Wees, a Felton-based real estate agent and local historian. “It’s a beautiful park, but the first thing you see is this shabby thing.”
However, by November, the kiosk will have undergone a major facelift as Wees and her business partner John Flaniken have agreed with the Santa Cruz County Parks Department to take over maintenance of the kiosk and pay to have it rebuilt.
“We’re essentially going to restore the whole thing,” she said.
Wees said that she and Flaniken have contracted local builder Tom Anderson to replace the broken pieces, restore the bulletin board panels, install glass, and give the whole thing a protective coat of wood stain.
At the center of the whole project, Wees said, is an effort to include on the kiosk the complete list of volunteers who made the park possible in the first place. Currently, there is a partial listing of names, minus everyone with a last name beginning with every letter that comes before “R.”
Wees said that the county has never installed the complete plaque, and staffers weren’t sure where the other piece is stored.
“This is about honoring the people that worked to put this park here,” Flaniken said.
The plan, Wees said, is to reach out to the park’s volunteers to include their names in a new, more complete plaque to replace the current deteriorated partial one.
“People spent a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of volunteer hours,” she said. “What they did was amazing — this is really a park to be proud of.”
Once the kiosk is restored, Wees said that she and Flaniken would be responsible for monthly maintenance of it.
She said that, in addition to the plaques and bulletin boards, she plans to post historic photos of the Felton area to give parkgoers a sense of the history of the area — including a photo and description of an oxen team hauling logs, which she hopes will explain the ox sculpture in front of the park.
“Three of the panels will have historic photos,” Wees said. “A lot of the people have no idea why there is an ox there.”
Wees encouraged anyone that had volunteered on the park’s development or construction to come forward to be included on the plaque.
“We really need those names,” Wees said. “If anyone has the complete list, that’d be great.”
Additionally, Wees and Flanikan will host a free Pop-up Museum event from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Satellite Telework Center, 6265 Highway 9 in Felton. A local history photo gallery, along with photos and memorabilia will be on display. Locals can also bring items of historical significance to share.
Anyone with information should contact Vicki Wees at email@example.com or at 359-0200.
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