Rotary Club repairs benches at Grist Park

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016

George Needham, McNair Ramsey, Barry Reed and Bob Kelley worked together on Thursday to replace the boards on 19 picnic tables at Paul Grist State Park. The project is expected to continue over the next few weeks.

George Needham, McNair Ramsey, Barry Reed and Bob Kelley worked together on Thursday to replace the boards on 19 picnic tables at Paul Grist State Park. The project is expected to continue over the next few weeks.

Paul Grist State Park is getting an upgrade thanks to a local civic organization and volunteers.

Selma Rotary Club members and other volunteers have been working together to replace the boards on picnic tables at the park.

George Needham, a retired Rotary member, said the idea to replace the boards grew from a problem he and Barry Reed were constantly dealing with.

“Barry and I kayak here frequently with our wives,” Needham said. “Between us, we were always complaining about how the tables that we use out by the dock were in such bad shape and dirty that you had to cover it up before you could sit on it.”

To fund the project, the two men asked for the Rotary Club’s help.

“Rotary offered to do it,” Needham said. “So it’s a Rotary project, and we are all in this together.”

Needham said the goal is to restore a total of 19 picnic tables in the park. Total supplies are expected to cost about $1,000.

Needham said the existing metal table frames and bolts are in fine condition, so the group decided to reuse them.

“They should give a lot of years of good service for sure,” said Rotary Club member Bob Kelley.

Because the Rotary Club helped finance the project, each table will be embellished with a token from the club’s 100 anniversary earlier this year.

The group started the project on Monday and completed three tables. On Thursday, the goal was to complete an additional five.

Like clockwork, the group moved with rhythm to remove nuts from bolts and put fresh boards on the frames.

“We’ve got quite a few more to go,” said Rotary Club member McNair Ramsey. “But we are taking our time and enjoying each other.”

Now that a system has been developed, the group expects to complete the remaining tables faster.

Needham said the next work session hasn’t been planned, but he expects it will be on a weekend where more Rotary members and volunteers can come out to help.