By Bob Hembree
Lake Powell Chronicle
PAGE – Small towns become what people make them.
Improvements are usually propelled by a handful of volunteers and public servants, people who want to make a difference in their communities. With volunteerism declining, it’s fair to ask what communities will become, and what forces will shape them.
Typically, volunteer projects are relatively small in scope: plant a few trees, build a monument, and clean up an area. A little bit here, a little bit there. These all add up, make a difference and help instill a sense of community for all involved. Larger undertakings are usually handled by local governments with greater resources: recreation areas, parks, and annual events.
The Canyon Club, a derivative of the old Rotary Club, currently has 15 members, and they’re making a difference in Page. They’re not afraid to take on big projects. They hope to increase “coed” membership and carry on long into the future. Membership is by nomination, but potential members may contact the club.
The Canyon Club has a long history helping the community. They built the Memorial Plaza in front of City Hall on the corner of Lake Powell Boulevard and Vista Avenue. The Wall of Honor memorializes Page-area citizens who lost their lives in the line of duty. This includes military, police, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel. Among the club’s construction projects are an animal barn for the 4-H Club and a shade structure overlooking Horseshoe Bend, and another shade structure off Lake Powell Boulevard.
Two years ago, the Canyon Club began planning a park for Grandview Knoll. It’s a local treasure few outside the community know about. It’s off the beaten path and offers one of the best scenic views in Page. Talk of building a park on this prime real estate has floated around for years, but it was just talk. Canyon Club member Dennis “Dugan” Warner says they “took the idea and made it happen.”
The project stretched the limits of the small group. If handled by a contractor, Warner says it could easily cost half a million dollars. The project had a lot of help from local businesses, individuals, fundraisers and a $50,000 grant from Coconino County. Lake Powell Construction, working pro bono, is the project manager and providing equipment. Page Steel is building the three shade structures. The Salt River Project provided a loader and operator to help with the final grade, along with labor and materials for the entry gate. Ken Sichi brought a backhoe and dump truck. The Huntley Group supplied the needed soil to prepare for the final grade (Ken Sichi and the City of Page hauled in the soil).
The Canyon Club is providing most of the funding, about $80,000, along with a substantial amount of the labor. The club raises money with its Red Ball events at the golf course (the next one is coming in May). The Friends of Lake Powell is contributing $10,000 to $15,000. Warner estimates total cash outlay for the project, including $50,000 County Supervisor Lena Fowler helped secure from the county, is about $150,000.
Warner said, “The design was prepared by Phil Weddle and Associates. They’re the same guys that did [designed] Horseshoe Bend. We paid for them to design the facility. Phil has been really good about coming out. Every time he comes to town, he meets with us and offers advice on where we’re at…. We hired B4 Contracting. They’re the guys who did Horseshoe Bend [parking facilities]. We hired them to put in all the concrete, poured all the footings for the shade structures and put together a rough grade force. All concrete is poured. The rough grade is set. Were on the final shaping and mounding, and so forth.”
Warner added, “Gary Ladd, a very well-known photographer is helping with the interpretive photographs. He’s donating all his photography for it. Him and Paul [Ostapuk] are writing the script for the interpretive panels on the signage. That’s where the Friends of Lake Powell come in. Their part of it is to do the interpretive signage.”
Warner expects the project to be completed by spring. The Canyon Club, like it has with past projects will then present the park to the City of Page.