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Volunteers restore picnic tables at Citrus Heights park

CHASEN neighborhood association President Kathy Morris paints picnic tables at C-Bar-C park in Citrus Heights during Volunteer Week 2021. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Wrapping up the final day of National Volunteer Week, a group of residents from a local neighborhood association gathered at C-Bar-C Park on Saturday to complete a volunteer project repairing picnic benches.

The small group of about a half-dozen people gathered at the park just before 8 a.m. with paint and brushes in hand. Citrus Heights Area Seven, Eight, and Nine, known as the CHASEN neighborhood association, spearheaded the project.

Association Vice President Bill Shirley told The Sentinel he worked with the Sunrise Parks and Recreation District to coordinate the effort.

Shirley said the association purchased the lumber from Home Depot through the park district’s account and was able to secure a group a discount on the lumber. Another volunteer provided tools and paint supplies, and the local Sherwin Williams also gave a discount on paint purchased for the project.

National Volunteer Week is annually recognized on the third week of April, which spanned from April 18-24 this year.

“I think it’s exceedingly important,” CHASEN President Kathy Morris said, referring to community volunteer work. “If you live there, you gotta care about it.”

“It could mean something really simple like picking up the litter in front of somewhere, or it could be going to the City Council meeting, or paying attention to what the Planning Commission is doing,” she said. “It’s easy to say afterwords ‘that shouldn’t have been done,’ but that’s too late. You need to be involved before it gets done so you can be involved in making the decision.”

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CHASEN’s volunteer efforts are not restricted to working on improvements within the neighborhood association’s boundaries, located in the northeastern portion of the city. Shirley said he volunteers his time for other projects as well.

“I feel this is the best way for people to bond, and we can improve the community in any way we can,” said Shirley. “We’ve had people walking by saying ‘thank you’ and they appreciate it.”

The group spent about seven hours between Saturday’s work and an initial volunteer day held a week prior at the park. Volunteers replaced aging boards on some picnic tables, and flipped boards to use the other side in others. The final work of priming and painting was completed Saturday.

Citrus Heights is made up of 11 neighborhood areas, three of which have now combined over the years. Each holds monthly meetings to discuss topics affecting their areas, and often invite speakers from the city to address their groups.

Membership includes every resident, property owner, and business owner in the area. Anyone over the age of 18 who works in the area is also a member, according to the bylaws. There are no dues for membership.

CHASEN’s area is bordered by Sunrise Boulevard to the west, and the city limit to the north. The area’s southern border is Greenback Lane.

Related: Two Citrus Heights neighborhood associations vote to merge

Morris has lived in Citrus Heights since 2001, and the spry 76-year-old retired project manager now gets around town in her 2017 Camaro convertible. For her, seeing people come together to improve their community is rewarding.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It makes me feel really good that people care about their community and they’re willing to work for it.”

“One of the things I’ve discovered over the period of years is how easy it is for people to complain. But really, it doesn’t do a lot of value to complain; it’s a lot easier to get in and fix things.”

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