Weatherford Democrat

April 11, 2013

First Monday volunteers receive city council recognition


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH



A number of volunteers were honored for the work they do in Weatherford during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Parks and Recreation Director Danielle Felts honored her First Monday committee, a group of volunteers that has worked together for the last five years to bring the popular event back to its heyday. The group has been “committed to all aspects of the weekend” according to Felts.

For their dedication to the cause, a bench and plaque will be placed in front of the new Event Center building, Felts told the crowd. Committee member Woody Stovall said First Monday is a “vital” part of the city and he is glad to be a part of bringing it back.

“The last two months we’ve had the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen, so it’s been good,” Stovall said.

Stovall thanked Felts, First Monday Coordinator Karen King, and Main Street Coordinator Kim Thieme for their work. Committee members said First Monday is a part of the city’s heritage.

Don Johnson said he has been coming to the event since his parents brought him in the 1950s. He said everyone that comes to the event, be it the first time or multiple times, enjoys it.

City Manager Jerry Blaisdell said the committee has had the utmost in patience waiting for the council to get the event going again.

“We were telling them ‘it’s coming, it’s coming’, so all this success is owed to you,” Blaisdell said.

In a related item, the council approved a proclamation honoring national volunteer week April 21-27. Mayor Dennis Hooks said more than 50 Weatherford residents serve on the city’s boards and commissions and he thanked them for their work in making the city a better place to be.

In other activity during the 55-minute meeting:

• The council approved a Parks and Recreation Board recommendation of naming a street in Soldier Spring Park after former major league pitcher James Leslie “Hippo” Vaughn.

Having the street give access to the four little league fields in the north end of the park is a fitting tribute in the eyes of Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy.

“This guy pitched to the immortal Babe Ruth and has been named one of the top 30 pitchers of all time,” Swancy said. “Having the street by the little league fields named after him is a great location.”

Felts said Vaughn pitched for such teams as the Washington Senators and Chicago Cubs from 1908-1921 after being born and gone to primary school in Weatherford. He won 20 or more games five times and ended his career with a 178-137 record and a 2,49 ERA.

• Final approval of the city’s new strategic plan was given. Council and city staff worked with consultant Marty Wieder on developing a plan of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the city can use to prioritize projects which can help during the budgeting process each year.

• An amendment to the city’s 2002 Comprehensive Plan was approved. A new transportation plan, which will help the city stay on task with road and street improvements through the year 2035.