It’s been almost three years since Annie Bahneman died from Amoebic Meningitis after swimming in Lily Lake. On Saturday, May 18 her friends and family will remember her by beautifying one of her favorite hangouts: Triangle Park.
“Annie loved this park,” her father Chad Bahneman said Monday afternoon. “She loved playing with the neighborhood kids and ice skating here.”
But anyone who has been to the South Hill’s tiny neighborhood park knows it could use a little work.
Triangle Park’s playground equipment has been recently updated, but when that happened one of the park’s two trees was cut down. The ice rink that graced Triangle Park during winter’s past has left has also left its mark on the grass over the years.
“It’s sort of a sad little park,” Bahneman said.
So the Bahneman’s are holding a tree planting—from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18—to make a lasting improvement to the neighborhood in Annie’s honor.
The plan is to spruce up the park with about 40 trees and shrubs, Bahneman said. The long-term goal is to build a gazebo with a memorial plaque in Annie’s name.
“It took a while to figure out what we wanted to do with donations made to Annie’s memorial fund,” Bahneman said. “But Annie loved this park. This will mean something to us personally and is a way to make this park our neighborhood’s park.”
Participants in the Sentence to Serve program will dig the holes, the city will provide dirt and mulch, and the Bahneman’s are looking for volunteers to help plant the trees and shrubs.
Donations to buy trees are still being accepted.
The idea for a tree planting was spurred by past experience and neighborhood action to make improvements on the South Hill.
About five years ago, Chad Bahneman helped organize a planting project of about 50 trees on First Street South and part of Broadway after road construction left the boulevard empty of trees.
The current project will also piggy-backing off of a project that dates back to the 1980s when a group of South Hill residents planted a bunch of crab apple trees on Broadway after Dutch Elm disease hit the neighborhood.
We like to do big events to remember Annie,” Bahneman said. “Every year we hold birthday parties at the cemetery and have sledding events—and this is an extension of that. It’s our way of keeping Annie alive in our memories.”