By Julia Deng
GARDENDALE - A community landmark is celebrating its 55th birthday but Gardendale Community Association leaders say it's hurting for funds and water.
Sharyn Carrigan, the president of the association, organized a fundraiser party Saturday to cover a portion of the estimated $100,000 needed to restore Gardendale Park.
"We don't have any faucets in the park or anything to water [the lawn] with," Carrigan said. "The underground sprinkler system that's in the park is not working. It has not been used in years. So we've got to address all of that."
The 11-acre park has had a special place in her heart since her family moved to Gardendale in 1962.
"We were something like the 20th family out here. I was in junior high at the time. [Later on] I started my own family here and my kids spent a lot of time [at the park] because they were in the ball league and the horse club."
That was in the 1970's. According to Carrigan, not much has been done to maintain the park since then.
"The horse swing sets in the back were there when my children were growing up," she said.
She showed NewsWest 9 how the chains on the swings now creak and are covered in layers of rust.
The Gardendale Community Association is hoping to raise enough money to repair them; not replace them.
"Everybody I've talked to say, 'Do not get rid of the horse swing!'" Carrigan said. "They'll definitely be here. Maybe in a different location [in the park] and definitely re-painted, but they'll be here."
Craig Pounds, a Gardendale father who attended the fundraiser, said he isn't concerned with what kind of playground equipment they have at the park.
"It would be nice to have new swings [but] I'm just happy there's somewhere to go [with the kids] instead of sitting there at the house," he said. "Just somewhere to run out and play."
Still, he's looking forward to all the upgrades - which include restoring the lawn, adding new picnic areas and fixing the water lines - and making Gardendale Park look more like a park.
Carrigan said that could take a few years; and "a lot of money" they don't have right now.
"[It will take] thousands of dollars. It's like starting with 11 acres of land that's never had anything done to it," Carrigan said.