MACOMB — Park commissioners voted Tuesday to name the roadway leading into Veterans Park for former commissioner and park district financial supporter Virginia Welch. This followed approval of an ordinance giving the board of commissioners authority to name small to large units within the park district and approval of a resolution outlining the district's naming policy.
Board President John Hemingway said Welch contributed funds to kick off the development of Veterans Park. "This roadway links the park as Virginia linked our efforts in those early years," he said.
Park Director Rachel Lenz said there is a planned dedication of Virginia Welch Way on the opening day of girls softball play. She also noted that daily field treatments are being administered on the Veterans Park baseball fields. "It takes about a year to get new fields in shape," Hemingway added.
The board president also remarked on the recent death of the park district's first director, A.L. "Buck" Knowles. "He made many lasting contributions," Hemingway said. "The softball fields at Downing Park are a testament to that."
Commissioner Russ Hamm recalled how Knowles hired him in 1980 to work with summer softball teams. He later became an umpire for several years in the summer leagues. "Buck made a great impression on a lot of us," Hamm said.
Also at the board meeting, Lenz announced that a summer events calendar would be published later this month in the McDonough County Choice. She said $1,000 was raised toward baseball field lights by a special meat sale at Hy-Vee, and that a candy sale is currently underway with 50-cents of every dollar going to the "Push for Parks" effort.
Lenz said that, in addition to grocery store sales, six local businesses are selling candy. She said Hy-Vee is sponsoring a Candy Carnival with games this Friday through Sunday.
The park director said she would be the Thursday guest disc jockey at Chubby's Restaurant to raise money. Lenz announced that the park district fundraising campaign is in line to receive a large donation from VIBE and is a social media contender for a $25,000 prize from the Disney Experience.
Hemingway reported that he would be attending the Illinois Association of Park Districts legislative day on April 24 as a state board member, and that Safety and Security Supervisor Neil Armstrong would represent the park district.

Reach Patrick Stout by email at pstout@mcdonoughvoice.com.