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Doleshel Park dedicated on site of former Christmas tree farm
MARYSVILLE — The Doleshel family joined city of Marysville officials and community members in braving the brief snowfall to celebrate the transformation of their former farm into a passive nature park that's now open to the public.
Mike Doleshel recalled how the land purchased by his grandfather in 1922 served as an iris bulb farm, and then a dairy farm, before it became a Christmas tree farm.
"We sold our first tree in 1986, and they became so popular that we couldn't keep enough trees on site to meet the demand," Doleshel said. "It paid for college for my three boys. With the pressures of urban development, though, that all came to a close in the 2000s."
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new Doleshel Park on Saturday, Feb. 22, Mike and sister, Judy Maxwell, walked over the 6.4-acre park's trail bridge across Allen Creek, whose construction was spearheaded by Eagle Scout Danyon Heacock, as they recalled how the surrounding area all used to be farmlands.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring joined city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew in praising the citizens who volunteered more than 1,000 hours over the course of three years to conduct weeding, clipping, cutting and the removal of blackberry brambles on site, as well as laying mulch for the park's trails. Among those whom they singled out were project leader Bruce Paquette and the Marysville stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Steve Lebo, Shonn and Sabina Mereness, and even City Council member Jeff Vaughan and his wife Deanna.
"It's not a playground, but a place to enjoy nature," said Ballew, who reiterated the role of former Council member Norma Jean Dierk in writing the application for a $511,300 grant from the Snohomish County Conservation Futures Fund to purchase the site. "We have three resident deer here, and seeing them is quite magical."
"This obviously took longer than the six months we were originally expecting," Jeff Vaughan said, as he addressed his fellow church volunteers. "I volunteered you without asking, but I knew you would step up to the task."
Vaughan echoed Ballew's kind words for Marysville Parks Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson, for the role he played in making this project possible through his coordination efforts.
Council members Kamille Norton and Donna Wright also attended the park dedication, and were joined by Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members. All the attendees of that morning's ceremony were given wildflower seed packets, to plant in the park's planned wildflower meadow in May.
Doleshel Park is located at 9028 67th Ave. NE, adjacent to Kellogg Marsh Elementary and the Wilcox Farm Community Garden, and its hours are from 7 a.m. to dusk.