Co-An Park turns 40, tree dedications part of the event

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

Co-An Park has turned 40 and its patrons have thrown it a birthday party.

Folks gathered around two small trees last Saturday in recognition of the contributions Robert Anderson and Murray Sellars made to the park.

Co-An Park is run through a collaboration between the municipalities of Essex and Amherstburg (formerly Colchester and Anderdon, respectively).  One council member and three community members from each municipality make up a committee that runs the park.

The friends and supporters of the late Robert Anderson hold a brick on which his name is carved in front of a tree that was planted in his name. They planted the tree in Co-An Park, which he helped beautify during his time on its organizing committee.

Every year, the committee chooses two people who have contributed to the improvement of the park and plant a tree in their name.

Murray Sellars currently sits on the Co-An Park committee.  Robert Anderson was a former member who died in 2017.

Leo Meloche is Amherstburg town council’s representative on the committee.  As stones with Sellars’ and Anderson’s names were placed in front of the trees’ trunks, Meloche spoke about their legacies.

“Bob truly dedicated his life to his family and to his fellow man and we thank his family for allowing us to celebrate his achievements today,” he said.  “Murray, we thank you for your service and dedication to your community and to the Co-An Park.  Please accept this tree as a memento of our gratitude.”

Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche is the official representative for his municipality.

Kenneth Holden was one of the first people to work on the park as it stands today.  Forty years ago, he landed a spot on the board and started working on the park’s fences and seating.  Today, he simply likes to volunteer.

Last Saturday, as he cooked up steaks for the park’s hungry baseball players, he reminisced about years gone by.

“We finished the bleachers on Christmas Eve,” he said.  “We were sitting there in the freezing cold, working on them.  That was 20 or 25 years ago and they’re still here.”

He said that over the past few decades, he’s seen the park improve dramatically.  He said a lot of work has gone into making it what it is today, but that the work is worth it.

As kids whooped at the crack of a baseball bat, he smiled.

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