The Riverbank City Council took time from its busy schedule recently to recognize nearly two decades of effort by a resident to improve life here, especially in Jacob Myers Park.
At its Tuesday, June 12 meeting, the council honored Scott McRitchie for his service on a number of city panels, including the Budget Committee and years of service on the Planning Commission, including terms as its chair.
“He has also served as a leader in a variety of charitable programs and has been a key figure in the Riverbank Housing Authority,” according to the city staff report that accompanied the agenda item.
“Perhaps most notably,” it cites, “Mr. Mc Ritchie has been a longtime advocate for Jacob Myers Park (as part of the Friends for Jacob Myers Park group) and has been an important part of many of the most meaningful improvement projects that make Jacob Myers the regional attraction it is now.”
McRitchie has spent many years serving as president of the FJMP, heading up many of its major improvement efforts.
City Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick spoke to the council, describing the time and effort she and McRitchie have spent together working out grant proposals and other improvement plans for the park, many of which have come to fruition over the past 20 years or so.
The council unanimously voted to dedicate the Jacob Meyers Park Trail as the Scott Mc Ritchie Park Trail in his honor.
Perhaps it all began nearly 20 years ago, with his organizing efforts to reclaim the park for family use, seeking to replace outdated and dangerous playground equipment. The project ultimately was successful in bringing together many of the segments of the community to assemble the playground that stands in the park now.
Over the years, facilities at the park have grown and improved, thanks, primarily, to McRitchie’s efforts.
A rusting, sharp-edged park slide, in the shape of a rocket, was dismantled and removed, only to be rebuilt and refurbished by FJMP volunteers and reinstalled by city crews. It now stands near the playground and east parking lot as a monument to past fun in the park.
A state grant helped refurbish and re-open a boat launching ramp, and the group helped bring community theatre groups to perform Shakespeare in the Park in years gone by. These days, FJMP is instrumental in helping provide free movies in the park on summer nights.
The group has also been active in helping present larger events like Beyond Earth Day, as well as picnics and musical performances.
Also, it has been involved in providing funds, and manpower, to assist with several Eagle Scout projects in the park.
They include the construction of horseshoe pits, a wedding gazebo, fence railings at the Bicentennial Grove, bird nest roosts, and, most recently, installation of driveway railings leading to the new Parking Lot B.
The council also approved an appropriation to design and install a sign near the trail recognizing the dedication.