MADERA – It was a perfect day for planting a tree in Madera Courthouse Park in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of Madera County.
The Board of Supervisors marked the occasion by lending a shovel in the planting of a Raywood Ash tree near the historic old courthouse.
Madera County Parks/Grounds Supervisor Joe Hernandez says this is the 23rd tree planted in the park in recent years, after so many unhealthy trees had to be removed several years ago. He says there is room for about 11 more.
Joe and his crew – Alex Torres, Javier Bautista and Robert Ramirez – put their backs into the hard part of the job; digging the planting hole and preparing the 3-year-old tree to be installed in its new home.
Supervisors Brett Frasier and David Rogers made quick work of hoisting the tree into its spot, while Supervisors Tom Wheeler and Max Rodriguez grabbed shovels, joined by CAO Eric Fleming, members of the Madera County Historic Society, Courthouse Park Committee Chairperson Gail Hanhart McIntyre, and committee member Bob Winslow.
Never a group of fellows to miss out on any historic doin’s, the Grub Gulch 41-49 E Clampus Vitus Chapter was well-represented.
Madera citizen Marvin Simpson, whose family has been in the area since 1860 with deep roots in both Fresno and Madera Counties, brought a postcard sent to his grandparents in the early 1900s, featuring a photo of the historic courthouse in its early days. The stately old building is now an awe-inspiring museum that definitely warrants a visit or two.
After the tree planting, the Board of Supervisors repaired to the courtroom on the 2nd floor of the museum for their regular meeting. The old museum has no handicapped access, so in order to accommodate all those who wished to participate in the meeting, a room was set up in the building across the street, where the Madera Superior Court was housed until 2015. The venue had a live streaming feed from the proceedings and phones with a direct line into the meeting.
District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler says the County will continue its work to “restore Courthouse Park to its former glory,” harkening back to the days when there used to be a zoo on the site, complete with alligators and lions.
“This is a crown jewel in the heart of Madera County,” says Wheeler, who notes that in addition to the improvements, there is now more security in the park, and drug users and other ne’er-do-wells are being dispersed.
“We’ve been working to improve this park and make it a safe, clean, enjoyable place for families.”