APPLETON - Terry Dawson and his wife Marsha have a long history with Appleton's Arbutus Park.
"My father played here as a child, I played here as a child and our children played here," said Terry Dawson.
It's why they're so invested in the park's future. In 2010, they teamed up with their neighbors and non-profit groups, Sustainable Fox Valley and Appleton Neighborhood Voice to revamp the park.
"It had a little bit of neglect. It's a place that's hard to supervise because it's down in a valley and there were some undesirable elements spending a lot of time here. As parents, we didn't feel comfortable letting our younger children play here unsupervised," said Terry Dawson.
The group started by cleaning up the park and hosting community events.
"I've come down and pulled weeds and picked up garbage, I've planted flowers, I've participated in picnics we've had here and met up with new neighbors," said Marsha Dawson.
However, the group wanted more than just a clean park. They called in local artist, Linda Muldoon to come up with a way to add something special.
She came up with the idea for a butterfly mosaic, surrounded by a butterfly garden. It was installed in Arbutus Park July 9.
"It's two, 8-foot by 3-foot boards which have been covered by glass and found objects to create butterflies. It's almost as if they're whooshing through the park," said Muldoon, describing the mosaic.
The mosaic was created at Muldoon's art studio in downtown Appleton. Since last summer, she's been asking residents, community leaders and students to make their own butterflies to add to the project.
To help create the mosaic, Linda asked residents to donate items they may have otherwise thrown away. Random objects such as guitar picks, broken dishes and Legos were used to design the individual butterflies.
"The idea is, the more people who take ownership in it -- from the grade school kids to the high school kids and neighbors, artists and politicians -- the more people own it, then. It sits in the park as a symbol and hopefully they watch over it and take care of it," said Muldoon.
The Dawsons say the mosaic and the community's efforts are making a difference for Arbutus Park and for the future generations who will get to enjoy it.
"We see more families here. We come here with our great nephews that we babysit and they have a great time playing here and we just feel better about the place," said Terry Dawson.
Sustainable Fox Valley reports it cost just under $20,000 to revamp Arbutus Park, since the effort began nearly 3 years ago. Project coordinator Julie Filapek says that money came from grants and private donations.
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