Highlands East honours the Herliheys
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | September 28, 2017
Carol Marcus wants the people of Highlands East to be able to enjoy Herlihey Park however they see fit.
“I think the way it was donated works for the community as well as for us,” said Marcus during a dedication ceremony at the Lloyd Watson Centre Sept. 25. “That is, leaving the future of the park in the hands of the community. We would like the people here to do with it whatever they think best. Whatever would give you the most enjoyment, the most pleasure.”
In the spring, Marcus and her husband Karl donated about $400,000 to the municipality to purchase a seven-acre property on Dark Lake in Wilberforce. For many years, it was home to the Wilberforce Veneer and Lumber Co. Ltd.
Carol’s father, Harold Herlihey, was partowner and general manager of operations for the veneer plant. In 1934, he was reeve of the Township of Monmouth (prior to amalgamation). His wife, Beatrice, was a teacher at Wilberforce Elementary School in the 1930s.
During the ceremony, the park land was dedicated in their honour.
“For infinity, this land shall be the Herlihey Park in memory of Beatrice and Harold Herlihey,” proclaimed Reeve Dave Burton.
Although the Marcus’ live in Toronto, Carol grew up in Wilberforce. She went to the elementary school and Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. As a teenager, she was involved in the community.
Her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease, was unable to attend the event. But her son, Dave, and sister, Gloria Jane, joined her.
“I think it’s a nice way to connect the downtown community to the lake,” said Dave Marcus in an interview. “Hopefully it will help to attract people at a meeting point
During a recent open house, people suggested different uses for the park. Among the most popular suggestions were a picnic area and shelter, and a lighted trail and walkway.
Council decided to contact the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development to see if any undergraduate students would develop a master plan for the park. The municipality is currently awaiting a response.
“It’s just an opportunity,” said CAO Shannon Hunter. “If that doesn’t work out, then we will go out to tender for a consultant.”
She confirmed a grand opening will take place once the park is ready.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.