Santa Paula Times

The Rotary Club of Santa Paula installed the new Ebell Park sign last Thursday. Rotarians left to right are Chris Wilson, Norm Wilkinson, Mike Mobley, and Nils Rueckert. Not pictured but helped install the sign was Scott Dunbar. Photo by Don Johnson

Ebell Park monument sign part of continuing Rotary Centennial Project

May 02, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesEbell Park is more elegant with the latest phase of a project undertaken by Santa Paula Rotary to celebrate the international organization’s Centennial.A regal monument sign was installed last week on the corner of Main and 7th streets, a project supported by Rotary both monetarily and with sweat equity.Rotary launched the project in 2005 to celebrate the Centennial of Rotary International, founded in Chicago by businessman Paul Harris and friends.The Santa Paula Club - founded in October 1923 - decided to tackle a restoration of Ebell Park for their Centennial Project and return the home of the historic Ebell Clubhouse to its original glory.Working on plans unearthed by historian and Rotarian Mitch Stone, Rotarians planted 17 donated trees, landscaped park property, recreated a pergola and launched a fundraising brick project said Past Rotary President Nils Rueckert.Locating the correct wood for the monument sign project was a study in patience: “It took months and months and months to get the quality of redwood that we wanted, that’s why it took so long,” said Rueckert.Once the top quality redwood was delivered to the home of Norm Wilkinson, he “cut and sanded, laid out the whole pattern, stained the wood, drilled all the holes and had a wood carver come in.”Rueckert said Wilkinson made sure that the carver did the lettering to resemble that of the building, home to the Santa Paula Theater Center.Last week Rueckert, Wilkinson, Scott Dunbar, Mike Mobley and Chris Wilson installed the sign on the prepared base: “It’s a beautiful job” the large sign readily visible to passersby announcing Ebell Park and the City of Santa Paula.The Rotary emblem will be the centerpiece of brickwork at the Pergola, a fundraising effort open to the entire community overseen by Rotary Incoming President Mitch Stone, said Rueckert.
So far about 50 bricks have been purchased at $100 each that will bear a plaque to honor or to memorialize a special person, even the donor.Replacing the pergola was a “big project” that replaced a structure that had been a focal point of Ebell Park for years before it deteriorated and had to be taken down said Rueckert.Wilkinson designed the structure using old photographs and the installation included numerous work sessions, “quite a hands-on project...”But Rotary might tackle more park projects in the future said Rueckert: “We may do others, enhancement lighting, perhaps more down the road,” that could include a fountain or replacing park benches.“We haven’t gotten that far yet...we want to see how we stand with our funding,” he noted.“Key people” behind the entire park project are Dunbar, Mobley and Wilkinson and “workers bees” have included Stone, Ernie Carlson, Dennis Culver, John Nichols, Gary Nasalroad, Joe Jauregui, President Bruce McGee, Mike Hause, Dave Stegman and John Kulwiec said Rueckert.“A good number of people have been involved in various phases of the project,” including those who donated $250 each for the trees, he noted.For more information on purchasing commemorative bricks contact Rueckert at 482-2518.