In 2015 the Friends of Leclaire were once again very active. The 24th Leclaire Parkfest, the annual celebration of our history and neighborhood, was held on another beautiful autumn day. When the group who normally helps with set-up and take-down wasn’t available, our members showed up in force. Thank you to everyone who helped that day and in the planning stages which begin months ahead of the event. Cindy Reinhardt coordinated the event again and is the main reason everything runs so smoothly. We thank Krause Properties, Attorney Keith Short, and the Bank of Edwardsville for their financial sponsorships. The assistance of the Edwardsville Parks Department and the Police Department is greatly appreciated.
In addition to Parkfest the Friends of Leclaire participated in other community events. We had a monthly booth at the Goshen Market and an information table at the History Tent during the Route 66 Festival. With the assistance of the EHS Student Council, we again provided a water station at Leclaire during the Bonifest 5K. In May we held the Leclaire Neighborhood Yard Sale despite intermittent rain. However, weather did force us to cancel the annual Municipal Band Concert in Leclaire Park.
The wettest June on record delayed our major beautification project in the park, the painting of the large pavilion on the corner of Madison and Lake. I cannot adequately thank our dedicated volunteers, Mark Hartman, Lisa Skioldhanlin, Theresa Morrison and Jim Milgrim for their assistance. Also thanks to Will Krause, Kyle Suchomski, and Mark Hartman for their help in repairing the wall in the “beach” area. Scott Reed helped with the landscaping in the park. Will Krause and I spread three loads of mulch donated by Barbara Krause. The Friends also maintained the flower gardens in the park.
Thanks to Cindy for our excellent newsletter. In June, FOL member S. J. Morrison shared his family’s history in Leclaire. The assistance of Jen, Audrey, Anna Rutherford and all our delivery people in the distribution of the newsletter, no matter what the weather, is appreciated.
And thank you to Will and Cindy for their work in maintaining our website, which is very popular. We have 11 new trees in Leclaire Park. Two were planted by Girl and Boy Scout troops for the city’s Arbor Day celebration. The Friends hosted a reception after the event. Three memorial trees were planted, two for Jack McCall and one for Ricky and Randy Kuhn. Sherrie Hickman created a new design featuring the Nelson Factory complex for t-shirts, which sold very well. Cindy designed a framed poster with three photos and a history of Leclaire School for the Children’s Museum.
In December Bob and Ellen Nickrent supervised the placement of 750 luminarias at Leclaire Park. Then we concluded our busy year with a much deserved holiday social at the Nickrent home.
Thank you to all our members. Several of you donated more than the annual $15 membership and your generosity is considered a vote of confidence.
Finally, thank you to the board: Will Krause, Ashley Mattingly, Jim Milgrim, Syvella Gregory, Theresa Morrison and Cindy Reinhardt. Their hard work and enthusiasm never fail to amaze me. One member said recently that this is the best board she has ever been on. I cannot agree more. Ashley recently moved and we wish her well. She did a great job as secretary. Syvella is retiring as trustee. She was a great asset to our board. Both were willing volunteers and could always be counted on. The Friends of Leclaire was founded 25 years ago to research, preserve, and promote Leclaire and its history. Recently the sister of FOL member Lisa Skioldhanlin translated an article from a 1908 Norwegian/American newspaper. The article states that the planning and development of Leclaire was based on “voluntary cooperation”. That spirit of cooperation continues in Leclaire with our volunteers and members who helped us achieve so much in this and previous years.
President Mike Reinhardt