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Rotary Club of Crook County commits $10,000 to build a shade structure near the local skate park and pickleball courts

JASON CHANEY - Many businesses and volunteers pitched in on the shade structure project, which the Crook County Parks and Recreation District had hoped to add to the area after renovating the skate park and pickleball courts.

People may not be seeking shade during the winter months, but soon the sweltering heat of the summer will return.

And when it does, visitors to the local skate park and pickleball courts will have a new place to gather and find some relief from the sizzling sun.

The Rotary Club of Crook County has recently completed its latest community project, a shade structure situated between the newly renovated skate park and pickleball courts. Rotary President Carol Benkosky said it is intended for people hanging out at either attraction or for people who just want to come to the park for a picnic.

The concrete pad is a little bigger than the structure that it supports, Benkosky said, but that is somewhat by design.

"The way the sun comes up and hits that area, you may need to move picnic tables around a little bit to keep them in the shade," she explained.

Rotarians have prioritized community projects in recent years that encourage people to get outside, enjoy nature and stay active.

"We have quite a number of projects in the parks," Benkosky said, noting such examples as the benches that line the Ochoco Creek bike path and the club's involvement in the little libraries program.

When Rotarians learned that the Crook County Parks and Recreation District had hoped to add a shade structure but lacked the funds to do it, members suggested they tackle the project.

"Everybody was excited to go for it," Benkosky remarked.

Rotary was able to contribute $10,000 to the project, most of which was earned during the club's past two annual rose sales.

"It is really donations from everybody in the community who has bought roses from us," Benkosky said.

The club also leaned on the help of several local businesses to help the project break ground. SMAF Construction helped prep the site, then Atlas Concrete donated labor pouring the concrete pad and installing forms. Prineville Ready Mix donated all the concrete.

"Crook County Parks and Recreation staff did all of the construction," Benkosky said, before adding that Rotary members pitched in, mostly handing stuff up to people, particularly when they were on the roof.

The Rotary Club just recently finished the shade structure and members are eager to see people use it, and they are grateful for all the help they received while completing the project.

"I really appreciate the community stepping up," Benkosky concluded.

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