The Friends of Bellevue State Park is a 501(c)(3) non profit volunteer based organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the scenic, historic and wildlife values of the park through dialog, volunteering, education and fundraising.
Friends of Bellevue State Park
Summer 2018 Newsletter And Membership Appeal
Hello to All our Friends!
As summer begins, we look forward to fun, family activities, and maybe a bit more free time. On the fun note, we encourage you to join us for our summer concert series, held every Thursday and Sunday evening until the end of August. To enhance your experience, we will have a 50/50 raffle, food and dessert trucks, and a Beer Garden. The raffle has become quite popular which means our payouts are generous! Remember, everyone is a winner because even if you don’t win the pot, Bellevue State Park benefits in that our 50% of the money is used for improving the concerts, sound equipment, and other amenities to make your park visit more enjoyable. So, bring your chairs, blankets and enjoy great music, the bubble machine, food, a sweet treat or a craft beer!
The Friends began 2018 with our annual Bellevue Staff/Friends retreat on February 2. This activity allows us to explore the current challenges Bellevue faces with input from everyone. From the session, Friends developed its strategies and work plan for the year.
Challenges: Of utmost concern is the decision by the Parks Division to turn over management of events at Bellevue’s historic buildings to a private concessionaire. An RFP (Request for Proposal) to find a vendor is being drawn up and should be publicly released sometime soon. Bellevue Hall, as the iconic structure and centerpiece of Bellevue State Park, is near and dear to the hearts of staff and the Friends. The Division assures us we will retain some access privileges and oversight. We are closely monitoring this initiative and, should the RFP process not yield a viable vendor, we have devised an exciting alternative plan.
Another major concern is the loss of staff due to budget constraints. Salaries and benefits are substantially below the compensation provided by the surrounding county, city, and National Parks, as well as local businesses, so we lose many of our best people to better paying jobs elsewhere. Most employees are seasonal (although many work year-round), which means they are part-time without benefits. With a tight job market and historically low unemployment, there are just not enough qualified people available to fill these positions. Although Parks has more full time positions in its budget, the state has set “caps” on the number of these positions that can be filled, leaving many key areas without much needed personnel. Bellevue has significantly increased the numbers of visitors while staff has been cut. We can’t preserve our Park without adequate staff to maintain it. The Friends are advocating for staffing by raising awareness of the issue to legislators, the Governor, the DNREC Secretary, and all of you. Bellevue’s staff is dedicated, hard-working, and give so much to keep Bellevue running smoothly. They deserve our full support!
Work Plan: The 2018 plan includes ongoing support to: (1) complete the restoration of the Mt Pleasant Meeting House, Parsonage, and cemetery, (2) further develop and maintain the music garden, (3) provide stipends for three summer interns, (4) provide school and summer camp scholarships, (5) support the concert series, and (6) enhance Park safety and security (lighting and cameras). These activities are sustained through grants, special events, and fundraisers such as concert 50/50 raffles and wood bundling (splitting and bundling of fallen wood from the Park and selling the bundles for $5 each which are available year-round at the Park office). We also count on the nominal membership fee for the Friends of Bellevue to raise additional funds.
Upcoming Events – Have Fun and Get Involved!
• Summer Concert Series – every Thursday and Sunday evening – Beer Garden (Sundays) and Food Trucks (Sundays and some Thursdays). We are looking for volunteers to help with the 50/50 raffles.
• Wood Bundling – we meet on the second Saturday of every month, from 10 AM to noon at the Percheron Barn. Volunteers are welcome and are rewarded with wonderful homemade Brownies!
• Music Garden – need volunteers for planting, weeding and watering
• Painting with a Purpose – Dinner, wine and a fun chance to explore your artistic side – October 4, 2018
We need new members! Please consider joining us. We have over a third of a million park visitors and less then one hundred members! We need your help to make a difference.
Please contact the Friends of Bellevue if you have comments, are interested in becoming a member of The Friends, volunteering, or have an interest in joining the Board of Directors. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, http://www.friendsofbellevuestatepark.org/
All the Best for a happy and safe summer from the Friends of Bellevue State Park