Friday, March 23, 2007

Hailey ?pocket park? becoming a reality

Groundbreaking for Jimmy?s Garden set for April 1

Express Staff Writer

Graphics courtesy Chris Pilaro Jimmy?s Garden is planned to open July 1.

Early spring sunshine warms up the grassy lot on the corner of Old Hailey's Second Avenue and Croy Street. For the casual pedestrian, it's easy to envision this as the perfect location for a city park.

Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of Hailey residents Chris and Phoebe Pilaro, this will soon become a reality.

Jimmy's Garden, named in honor of master gardener Jimmy Gelsky, who passed away in 2002 and used to live on the site of the new park, is scheduled to open July 1. This pocket park is geared toward people of all ages and will include an interactive fountain, an artificial climbing boulder, benches and trees.

The Pilaros purchased the two city lots, an area measuring approximately 7,200 square feet, and have arranged to lease the property to the city of Hailey for $1 a year.

They received final approval for the park after it was the first landscaping project to undergo a formal design review. The Pilaros plan to break ground on the project April 1.

Despite their obvious enthusiasm and commitment, the Pilaros, faced with such a large undertaking, have enlisted the help of both community residents and businesses in order to raise the necessary funding, materials and manpower to see it to completion.

"The idea is for community involvement at the creation level so that everyone can feel like it's their park when it's done," Chris Pilaro said Thursday.

Park organizers, which include the Hailey Parks and Lands Board and the Hailey Parks Foundation, have received $15,000 in donations to date, mostly from private citizens, but also from a number of local businesses.

"The goal is to fulfill the city's $100,000 matching grant," said Phoebe Pilaro. "This means every donation will be doubled."

All contributions are welcome and they're still seeking major contributors towards the climbing boulder and park fountain, donations of $10,000 and $25,000, respectively.

In addition, a number of companies, such as Webb Landscape, have agreed to help out with materials. Companies interested in assisting can contact the project manager, Dean Hernandez of Gardenspace, at 788-6430.

"Chris and Phoebe set the wheels in motion with the huge gift of land. Now it's up to everyone to become part of it," said Amy Boyer, who's assisting with the fund raising.

Interested persons can contact Phoebe Pilaro or Boyer at 578-7649.

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