BULLHEAD CITY — Community members involved with the creation of monument signs to mark the main entrance of Bullhead City’s Rotary Park stood in front of it for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.
There were so many people involved with getting the steel and sandstone monument sign erected at the corner of Lakeside and Riverview drives that the monument mostly was blocked from view.
And not all of those people were there.
Three local groups worked together on the monument sign: Bullhead City Rotary Club, Los Matadores de Bullhead City and the Legacy Foundation. All have been involved with projects in the park — and throughout the city — for many years.
Time and materials also were provided for the monument by many others in the community.
Rotary Park sits on 300 acres of land next to the Colorado River. To cite from a highly abbreviated list of offerings, there are boat launches, a trail and beach as well as a sports complex used by visiting athletic groups virtually every weekend. There is a dog park and a skate park used by residents and visitors. Pickleball has increased in popularity in recent years and there are courts there for that sport, too — and one for tennis.
There are large ramadas for community gatherings and picnic areas for smaller events. And no park would be complete without a playground.
People who spoke at the ceremony also highlighted how the efforts of so many people over the years have made the facility what it is today. Each of those projects required groups and individuals working together.
“Parks and park facilities really strengthens a community,” said Dan Oehler, chairman of the Legacy Foundation who also is involved in the Rotary and Los Matadores.
Over the years, he said he has seen thousands of families use the park.
Rotary Park and other local parks provide “a linchpin to building great families,” Oehler said.
In February of 2018, Oehler and Ken Gregory, then-president of the Bullhead City Rotary Club, presented the concept for the sign to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Gregory said at the time that the monument design was meant to be as spectacular and unique as the park itself, according to previous reports.
“We’re really proud of what Rotary Park has become,” Gregory told the commissioners.
Rotary Park has helped the city create a growing sports tourism industry that has helped boost the local economy.
Dave Heath, the city’s Parks and Recreation superintendent, noted that there are 30 more developable acres remaining in Rotary Park.
Heath grew up in Bullhead City and told people that when he was young the city’s two largest parks, Rotary and Community, had different names used by locals based on what was going on there in the old days.
Community Park was called “Trash Can Park” because it had a lot of trash cans on it. Rotary Park was known as the “Black Forest” because of the heavy, overgrown trees and brush.
The first development on the Rotary Park site was 10 acres for soccer playing. This was in the mid-1970s.
He said after the ceremony that he still finds it fun to give tours to new city employees, committee and commission appointees and members of community groups as well as the Legacy Foundation.
While citing the works of the Rotary, Los Matadores, the Legacy Foundation and other volunteers and park patrons, Heath said some of the credit for making Rotary and the city’s other parks successful also should go to City Manager Toby Cotter.