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The highs and lows at Hurley Park this year

December can be a toss-up of how Hurley Park will look based on weather.

Last year we had frosted berries, crimson and auburn leaves. This year we have already had one frost but not as severe, and our colors were not as vibrant. We still have a few trees with bright colors, but most have already dropped their leaves.

It is always neat to see how the park changes with the seasons and it seems like this time of year we tend to reflect on the things that were great and not so great. For my final article of the 2019 season, I will share some of the highs and lows for Hurley Park this year.

The 32nd Spring Celebration was phenomenal. We had over 150 guests, numerous activities, refreshments and a cloudy but overall great day. This is always a great celebration where Hurley Park tries to give back in a small way by showing our appreciation to the community. It would not be possible without the help of volunteers, civic organizations, city employees, activity groups and local government.

Another highlight is the third annual Butterfly Release. We were finally able to use a “hidden gem” of Hurley Park which we endearingly call The Annex. We hosted the event under tranquil oaks within a circle drawn on the lawn. This event continues to increase with the crowds.

We provided 250 free seed packets of milkweed to the attendees. We released 160 Monarch butterflies that were tagged for their migration. Many people wanted to release their own butterfly and with the success of this year, we plan to open up sales earlier next year.

Hurley Park has not always been a shining star. We have had some hiccups along the way. Last year, the park was heavily damaged by hurricanes and flooding.

We are still trying to recover from some of the damage. We replaced the damaged fountain, only to discover the pond had been filled in with debris from the storms. We encountered more damage while completing the dredging of the pond, but the area is starting to recover.

One of our smaller bridges was completely replaced and is now handicap accessible for a smooth walk amongst the small gazebo portion of the park. The previous bridge lasted for over 20 years. Our new and improved bridge should last just as long. We also plan to have a few more carpentry items completed over the next few months such as repairs to the gazebos, arbor and railings.

A tremendous feat that could not have been done without Wooten’s Irrigation is the upgrading of Hurley Parks’ irrigation. They assisted in the overhaul of the dated irrigation system and also caught the park up to 21st century technology. We hope the system will last us for many years to come.

Items that have been completed and could not have been done without additional assistance from the city are the walking paths being recovered with gravel, downed trees being cut up and hauled away, dead trees being removed and some replanted, and a few plants being replaced.

Probably one of the lows that we seem to fight every year at Hurley Park is damage to structures and trash. We have worked hard at reducing the litter in the park with numerous trash cans, but we still fight an everyday battle with bottles, cups, plastic bags, cigarette butts and food debris.

It is tough to start working in the park and then have to stop and fix damaged items, or clean up after an event or party that chose not to throw away their trash. The park has limited staff so we rely heavily on the guests to aide us in keeping the park clean and beautiful.

Every year, there will be highs and lows. Hurley Park has weathered the last 30 years beautifully, and it is our mission to see it continue on into the future. We cannot wait to see what we have to share with you all in the New Year and hope it is the best year ever.

Be sure to like us on Facebook and Instagram. If you would like to make a contribution to the Hurley Park foundation, visit: www.salisburync.gov/HurleyPark. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please call us at 704-638-4459.

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