Volunteer effort

The renovation of Wells Overlook Park south of Lawrence would have to rank near the top of ambitious volunteer projects.

County Commissioner Jere McElhaney plans to bring volunteers together this fall to clear most of the trees from the 17-acre site. After that, perhaps in the spring, volunteers will replant the area with native grasses, build new trails and make other upgrades. It’s a huge undertaking, and McElhaney deserves the community’s thanks for tackling the project.

Many Lawrence residents have fond memories of trips to the overlook, which provides a panoramic view of Mount Oread and vistas to the south. The park once was a popular spot for family outings, but, in recent years, it has fallen into disrepair and disrepute.

Heavy vegetation compromised the safety of the park and attracted visitors who could find cover there to engage in activities that didn’t contribute to a healthy family atmosphere. What once was a beautiful, natural destination for a family outing became an unsightly and unsavory place.

McElhaney received the go-ahead from fellow commissioners this week to bring in some heavy equipment to speed the Wells Overlook project along, but many, many hours of volunteer labor also will be involved.

McElhaney and the volunteer Wells Overlook Restoration Committee, have their work cut out for them, and additional help no doubt will be welcome. Information on how to contact McElhaney to volunteer appeared on page 3B of Thursday’s Journal-World.

The volunteers who take part in this project will provide a wonderful gift to the community and save county taxpayers thousands of dollars. Congratulations to everyone involved.