SEQUIM — The COVID pandemic hasn’t kept flowers from blooming or leaves from turning at Pioneer Memorial Park.
But health restrictions have shut down any possibility of renting out the park clubhouse — the Sequim Prairie Garden Club’s sole source of revenue.
Members are seeking $35,000 both to make up for the revenue shortfall and restore an emergency fund depleted in the past 12 months, until clubhouse rentals and fundraisers can be held.
The Sequim Prairie Garden Club (SPGC) is recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation which provides civic, charitable and educational services; donations are tax-deductible. Checks also can be mailed to: Sequim Prairie Garden Club, P.O. Box 46, Sequim, WA 98382.
Since the pandemic shut down all community gatherings and prohibited any chance of clubhouse rental revenue, SPGC has paid costs of maintaining the park — including taxes, insurance, electricity, mowing, edging, leaf removal and sprinkler repairs — out of savings set aside for emergencies and long-term park improvements.
For 66 years, park club members have maintained the 4-acre park that has become a popular place to picnic, walk and take pets. The clubhouse is a popular venue for parties, weddings, group meetings and other gatherings.
With community support, SPGC created Pioneer Memorial Park out of an abandoned cemetery and cow pasture in 1951, when they signed a 99-year lease with the Sequim Cemetery Association and later transferred to the City of Sequim in 2002.
In 1960, the community relocated a millhouse from Carlsborg to the park as a clubhouse, and in 1965, a meeting room with a fireplace was added; that served as the city’s first gathering place.
Prior to the pandemic, club members had completed some long-overdue interior clubhouse improvements — new paint, wallpaper, flooring and bathroom fixtures — to give the facility a whole new look.
“SPGC is looking forward to opening up the clubhouse again for all of the events that make Pioneer Memorial Park a favorite venue,” club members said in a press release.
Garden club members tend to the park from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Thursdays, planting, weeding, pruning, raking and renovating garden beds. SPGC is also seeking community assistance with park upkeep.
For more information about the fundraiser, the park or Sequim Prairie Garden Club, call 360-808-3434.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].