Veteran's Day 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of Feeney Park's official opening. That ceremony in 1999 was the culmination of nearly a decade of effort by community members to provide a recreational facility for Murphys and the Highway 4 corridor.
Feeney Park was a "field of dreams" that began with Edna Feeney's bequest of land to the community of Murphys. What followed has been a heartening example of collaboration and perseverance for the greater good. Early Feeney Park Foundation members like Jan and Dave Olson, Felize Cizmich, and Glen Plowman established the legal basis for the park, entered into a joint use agreement with the Vallecito School District to extend the acreage after Barden Stevenot agreed to a land swap, and raised funds for construction. Led by John Yost and John Hacker with the donation of time, equipment, and expertise by Emerson, Sutton, and Ford construction companies and the muscle of the Vallecito Conservation Corps, the park was built. Many individuals, and many businesses gave of their time and talent as the land was graded and blasted--that much flat land being hard to come by in the foothills--water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure was laid, turf and trees planted, an irrigation system installed, and the buildings erected. Each component has its own story, from whole families picking rocks before the newly graded fields were seeded, to a high school student painting a map of the park for the entry kiosk.
Through the years the maintenance and further development of the park have continued to be community efforts. A recognition board on the deck between the snack bar and restrooms lists many of thecontributors and will be updated at the end of this year.
Over the years, additions to the original soccer and baseball fields and parking lot include a perimeter walking trail, skatepark, amphitheater stage and lighting, pavement, picnic tables, and most recently, a popular disc golf course. Many people do not realize that the only governmental input has been supervisor support, the aforementioned Vallecito crew, grant money from Proposition 40 for access road paving, amphitheater stage and lights with adjacent ADA restroom, and CalFire grants in the early years for trees. Everything else built at the park and its ongoing maintenance are due to the goodwill of users and others of the community plus two major fund raisers a year, the Murphys Gold Rush Street Faire held in conjunction with Grape Stomp, and Mr. Frog's Wild Ride, a bike ride held in the spring.
Visit the park and see what a community working together can accomplish!