Pleasanton's three Rotary clubs have kicked off a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the city's first Rotary charter.
The 50 Years of Rotary in Pleasanton celebration started with a fun-packed charity poker tournament in early May at the Veterans Memorial Building.
If all goes as planned, the year will culminate in May 2015 with the renaming of a city park in honor of Rotary and the dedication of a large public clock the clubs will donate to the city.
"We hope that the events of the next year will attract new members to our three clubs by showcasing our long history of community service," Jim Brice, publicity chairman for the celebration, said. "We also want to express the friendship and fellowship that go along with the Rotary motto, which is service above self."
The yearlong celebration will include many events, including a special Rotary history exhibit from May to June next year at the Museum on Main and a gala banquet at Castlewood Country Club in May 2015.
The first local Rotary charter was for the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, commonly called Downtown Rotary, in June 1965. The other clubs are Rotary Club of Pleasanton North, chartered in 1987, and Tri-Valley Evening Rotary, chartered in 2002.
All three clubs are affiliated with Rotary International, a global community service organization with 1.2 million members worldwide. Locally, the three clubs have roughly 170 members who support both local and international service projects.
"We have a great time with our fundraising activities and the opportunities to support charitable projects that grow out of them," Brice said. "Many of the Rotary club members are community leaders, but we are interested in any adults who wish to apply themselves to community service. We are a mechanism to help them to do that by their participation in Rotary projects and to have them propose ideas that they can pursue."
Annual fundraisers include the Father's Day Spirit Run (Rotary of Pleasanton), A Starry Night dinner dance and auction (Pleasanton North Rotary) and a community rummage sale at Amador Valley High School on July 19 (Tri-Valley Evening Rotary).
Another project the Rotary clubs have tackled is beautifying the tiny half-acre Main Street Green park at the northeast corner of the Main Street bridge. City plans call for the park to be expanded to nearly three-quarters of an acre, making it similar in size to other downtown parks.
Club members have put considerable volunteer time and dollars into the diminutive park, adding a bench, brick walkway and lighting. They cleared the path that leads to the nearby arroyo trail and planted 600 daffodils.
The clubs plan to donate a decorative two-sided clock on a 15-foot pedestal with granite base to be installed the park, which could be renamed Rotary Park. The city's parks and recreation commission has approved the name change, pending final approval this summer by the city council.
"It's a collaborative project between the three clubs and the city of Pleasanton," Brad Hirst, chairman of the celebration committee, explained. "We work hard to make the community better."
"When it's Rotary Park and when there's a clock in it, everyone will know," Hirst continued. "Looking long-term, there will probably be some improvements on the other side of the street to form a beautiful entry into downtown. We want Pleasanton to have its best foot forward."
Also in this issue...