Bridges designs, helps construct neighborhood park and playground

Andy BridgesBy Jim Jarrett

Andy Bridges sometimes goes to Mesa Park to watch children fly their kites, ride their bicycles and play basketball.

Bridges doesn’t live in the Mesa Park neighborhood, but he helped turn the 4-acre plot into a community playground.

“It gives me a lot of satisfaction to know I helped provide something people enjoy,” he said.

The park was built primarily by a group of neighborhood volunteers. They found donors, raised money and built the park.

The park project began about two years ago when Bridges was at a get-together with some friends. He developed plans for the park, then spent his Saturdays working, whether it was digging holes for trees or building a basketball court.

Bridges stressed the project was a team effort. It wasn’t just one, two or three people who would come out and help, he said.

Andy Bridges
Age: 44.
Church attended: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Family: Wife: Kim; sons, Tim and Chris; daughters, Corinne and Kaitlin.
Hobbies: Gardening, reading.
Community involvement: Park construction, Lubbock Master Gardeners, Boy Scout leader.“

The whole neighborhood gets a lot of credit,” he said. “Yeah, I’ve done a lot, but it was always a group of neighbors there to give me help. I kind of got singled out a little bit because I kind of designed it. I managed a lot of the projects and I worked with the contractors, but if it wasn’t for 25 people showing up and saying ‘Hey, we need to get this done,’ it would still be a blank field.”

But Mesa Park resident Julie Merrill said Bridges deserves much of the credit. The Wolfforth City Council recently gave Bridges a proclamation, praising him for his effort. “He did everything, really. It was his design, his baby,” she said.

An avid gardener and outdoors-lover, Bridges enjoyed working Saturdays. “It was my playground,” he said.

He also liked working and meeting people those Saturdays.

“Everybody who has come out and worked on the park has been new to me,” he said. “If you include the city officials who have worked on it — Frankie (Pittman), (Debbie) Youngblood and the mayor (L.C. Childers) — it has been great to meet them and work with them.”

The most challenging aspect of building the park for Bridges was fundraising.

“We had a lot of generous people, but it’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s a little bit of stress and it takes you out of your comfort zone to ask for money, materials or labor — things like that.”

He said if the park had started with the money in hand, it probably would’ve been completed in a couple of months “but it wouldn’t have been the same. When people contributed, it was $20 here or $20 there. Then they would come out and work on it. There was an investment. (Fundraising’s) been the greatest challenge, but it’s been beneficial. People have a stake in it.”

The playground, a path and some irrigation, are the final projects, said Merrill.

Bridges may not see the end of the project. He will move to Arizona sometime in the near future, he said.

But he has remained busy with the park project, said Merrill.

“When he said he would move, he didn’t say, ‘Sorry, I’ve got to go get my house ready to sell. You are on your own,’” she said. “He’s still calling me. He’s still getting plants, he’s getting quotes on cement. He’s going to be involved even after he leaves. … I know it’s been a good experience for him, but it’s been an incredible experience for our neighborhood.”

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