Ed Leamon Park gets new additions

Apologies to TV’s Larry the Cable Guy, but when the Kirk Men’s Club puts its collective mind to something, it usually doesn’t take long to "git ‘er done!"

Several members of the club descended en masse upon Fairfield Bay’s Ed Leamon Park early Monday morning and in a matter of a scant few hours made quick work of the last major phase of the Grass Roots Cabin project---the completion of eight 8-ft long cedar slab benches.

The cabin has been a work in progress since 2010. Chesapeake Oil Company, the Fairfield Bay Community Club, and the Van Buren County Master Gardeners each contributed to its funding. The rustic structure with raised porch and railing is shaded by large native trees which fill the small glen on the northern perimeter of the Woodland Garden. A "blue bottle" tree, and a sculptured birdbath designed by artist Gera McChesney, add a serene and graceful ambiance to the wooded setting.

The intended purpose of the cabin is for the community to have a natural venue for public education. With the porch as a lectern and the benches as an auditorium, the pretty site will prove to be a perfect place for scout and school groups, and garden clubs and other city and county organizations, to hold meetings or to present instructional programs. It will also provide a nice resting area for those who have enjoyed wandering through the Woodland Garden from its southern border (the miniature golf course) to the cabin site at its northern edge.

Log benches were part of the original cabin project plan, but it was Greers Ferry Master Gardener Dianne Percefull’s artistic eye that spotted just the perfect ones when she toured the trails at the South Fork Nature Center last year with her Fairfield Bay Garden Club. She mentioned to tour-guide and fellow MG member, Steve Smith, that the split-log style would blend perfectly with the cabin site. The design was approved and the hunt for materials begun.

"Since we were about to order new slabs for the expanding trails at North Fork, I ordered a few more for the park," Smith said. "But the saw mill over at Formosa had run out of large cedars, so Bob Hartman and I wound up having to harvest several from his property." Hartman, a fellow naturalist and good friend of Smith, is a South Fork Nature Center docent and Audubon Society member.

"I hauled the split logs over to the cabin last fall where I figured they would sit idle until a date we had tentatively set for early April. I was delighted to learn that Bob Berdine and the Kirk guys got the jump on that."

Originated within the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church, the Kirk Men’s Club is an ecumenical group whose members are found throughout the community and within many volunteer and non-profit community organizations like Rotary, Lions, Masons, the Community Club, and Master Gardeners. Their mission is "Deeds for Needs," their skills mostly construction and woodworking design. Their handiwork can be found all over the Fairfield Bay area, but in Ed Leamon Park alone one can appreciate their expert craftsmanship in the design and construction of the round block planter boxes that line the sidewalk along Dave Creek Parkway, the bridge from the Senior Center parking lot to the park, and the beautiful new pergola at the northeast corner of the park. They also helped frame the cabin back in 2010 and last year added a ramp leading up to the porch.