Crozet Park Board President Kim Guenther held an unveiling ceremony and reception at the park June 16 to announce that the park’s three gates have been named in honor of citizens who have made signal contributions to the park and the community.
The main gate on Park Road was named the Conley Gate in honor of Carroll Conley, who as owner of J.B. Barnes Lumber Company was a repeated benefactor of the park, especially in creating the upper little league field. Conley family members, led by his widow Donna, uncovered the sign on the gate. Conley smiled as she first saw it, sparkling green and white, but soon grief swept over and the honor was bittersweet.
“He always opened gates for people in this community, especially for children,” said Tom Sheets of Staunton, a friend of Conley who came over for the occasion. “He probably would have liked a wooden gate.”
The flag pole outside Conley’s lumber yard office is being moved to the park to be placed near the T-ball field, where it will be visible to players on both the upper and lower ball fields.
Jo Ann Perkins agreed that her husband Walter, too, a forester, would have appreciated that wooden gate idea, too. The lower exit gate on Park Road, which is normally closed, is named for now-deceased White Hall District Supervisor Walter Perkins, who served two terms and also was on the School Board, and his wife Jo Ann, a volunteer who has been the park’s treasurer for 30-years.
“Walter got me to be treasurer,” she explained. “He said, ‘this community has helped raise three children and let’s pay it back.’”
Perkins was supervisor when the second gate on Park Road was approved by VDOT and since it was created it has colloquially been known as the Perkins gate.
Guenther surprised volunteer extraordinaire Karl Pomeroy, who has given countless hours of work and expertise to park needs, by revealing that the Hill Top Street exit gate is now named for him. He was handed the sign and told, in good humor, to go put it up. Pomeroy beamed. He had no inkling.
Then there was a nice sheet cake to eat up, with frosting roses, and three flavors of ice cream.
Guenther herself received the Crozet Community Association’s top award, The Good Neighbor Award, at the July 2 fireworks show. Peachtree Baseball League President Cheryl Madison was also honored with one for outstanding volunteer service to Crozet.