Saturday, December 02, 2023

Travers Park GoFundMe being removed

Staff Writer | November 4, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Bonner County resident Molly McCahon — who helped lead efforts to save the trees at Travers Park — has decided to stop her efforts as she said she feels it is too late to save the park.

McCahon started a Facebook page called “Save Travers Park” for community members to share their thoughts on the upcoming changes. 

Last week, 20 trees came down around the playground at Travers Park to make way for the new James E. Russell Sports Complex. The almost 40,000-square-foot complex will house four tennis courts and 16 pickleball courts and will be situated near the outdoor tennis courts that currently sit at the park.

Multiple protests were organized at the park and Sandpoint City Council meetings pleading with city officials to find another site for the construction. McCahon even chained herself to some of the trees scheduled for removal to emphasize how important the foliage was to city residents who didn’t want to see the park change.

However, those efforts fell short as the trees came down as scheduled and a groundbreaking ceremony was as the complex’s construction got underway.

McCahon announced yesterday that she will be shutting the Facebook page down this weekend. A highly contentious issue, she said she could no longer “shoulder the discord” and the division that the page has created on the issue.

“We all know why Travers Park was defaced and scarred,” McCahon said in a Facebook post. “It's not your fault. Attending meetings, workshops, et cetera would not have made a difference and did not make a difference. Please reject these claims by council. It is not true.”

McCahon urged the public to continue attending meetings and talking with Sandpoint council members, but asked them to go with the intent to change the city’s processes and policies that do not suit the people who live here.

“Nothing that impacts the community should end up on an agenda until the council has gone to and talked to the people first,” she said. “No more surprises.”

McCahon also announced that she would be shutting down the GoFundMe page that she had begun in an attempt to bring an injunction against the city regarding the construction at the park. Refunds are expected to be issued to anyone who donated. As of Friday, the page had exceeded its $5,000 goal, bringing in a total of $5,870 from 75 donors.

McCahon apologized to everyone who donated their time and resources trying to save the park.

“What happened to Travers Park will never be forgotten by this community,” she said. “It left a deep wound. But I think it united us and recharged our batteries. We can save Sandpoint's character, culture, history and beauty. We really can. Very sorry our efforts to save that beautiful park and those beautiful trees didn't work.”

    Sharon McCahon and Ranel Hanson were among a group of residents who gathered before a recent Sandpoint City Council meeting to protest the location of the James E. Russell Sports Complex and the trees removal.

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