The dedication of Waterloo’s newest park on Saturday not only highlighted a community effort to bring new recreation to Waterloo; it also signified one family’s giving back to those who helped in their time of need.
William Zimmer Park, located off Rogers Street, celebrated its opening with two separate ribbon-cuttings. The first was to recognize the William Zimmer Foundation donation for the park’s naming, as well as the city, local businesses and various groups and organizations for their donations of money or time, labor and materials to make it a reality.
“The park district really appreciated all the community support, donations and participation in developing William Zimmer Park,” Waterloo Park District President Joann Harlin said.
In 2010, the park district purchased 10 acres for park development with the help of a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The second ribbon-cutting at the park on Saturday was for Angela’s Pavilion, located near the playground area and restroom facility. This pavilion was made possible through funds donated by the family of Angela Leifeld, an Ohms from home, who died from the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at the age of 41 in May 2011.Photo is of the plaque in her name. (Kermit Constantine photo)
Leifeld, the daughter of Bill and Lucille Ohms, was a mother of four who taught in the Waterloo School District for 16 years and was a Cub Scout den leader.
Angela’s parents, her husband, Bob, and children Mitchell, Spencer, Evan and Madeline were all on hand Saturday as the pavilion was dedicated in her honor.
“I think it’s very pretty,” Lucille Ohms said of the new pavilion. “We actually booked our family reunion there for August.”
Bob Leifeld said Angela’s Pavilion seemed like the perfect way for his family to give back to the community for all the funds donated when his wife was battling ALS.
“She liked kids, obviously, and family, so it just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.
A trivia night was held in the Ss. Peter & Paul School gym early in 2011, with the goal to raise funds for a handicap accessible van and other changes needed for Angela’s fight against the disease. The response was huge, as the community came out in droves to support the cause.Angela Leifeld
Unfortunately, Angela did not live long enough for all of those funds to be put to their intended use.
“The money was still there, so Bob wanted to give it back to the community. That’s where it came from,” Lucille Ohms said.
The family couldn’t have been more impressed with the new pavilion.
“It’s beautiful,” Bob Leifeld said. “I wasn’t expecting such a big plaque with her name on it.”
It is the hope of Angela’s family that other families use the pavilion for great quality time together.
Possible future plans at Zimmer Park, Harlin said, may include a second pavilion and an extended parking area.