Springfield Organizations Partner to Honor Runner’s Legacy
A new 800-meter (half-mile) running trail is coming to Willamalane Park, 1276 G St. in Springfield. The trail is being made possible, in part, by a family foundation grant from the Shana Thomas Barr Memorial Fund.
Starting at the parking lot at the east end of Willamalane Park Swim Center, Shana’s Trail will form a loop along Mohawk Blvd., I Street, Silke Field, and the swale behind the pool. Shana’s Trail will be composed of the same specially applied aggregate and bark that makes Pre’s Trail a popular destination for runners. This project is a collaboration of the City of Springfield, Springfield Utility Board, and Willamalane Park and Recreation District.
Construction begins on Aug. 30, 2021. Community members should stay mindful of signs and fences at Willamalane Park during construction. Additional updates and information about the trail construction will be available at willamalane.org/Shana.
The Shana Thomas Barr Memorial Fund
The Shana Thomas Barr Memorial Fund was established in memory of the former Springfield High School (SHS) track athlete. Her mark in the triple jump remains a school record. She went on to compete for Central Michigan University on a track scholarship.
Family members report that over the last six years, $35,000 from the memorial fund has benefitted the SHS track and field program.
“Grants were awarded on a financial needs basis. We have been able to approve every application that we received over the years,” said Shana’s sister, Heather Van Buskirk. “The items most often purchased for the applicants were running shoes, track-specific spikes, and other track and field gear that the athletes, and the team, needed but were unable to obtain. We were also able to provide pole vault equipment and facilities, new long jump and triple jump runway mats, and a new high jump pit and pit cover,” she added.
“It is our families’ dream that the grant fund could conclude with some kind of permanent way to remember Shana,” said Shana’s father and project spokesperson John Thomas.
“To date, we have financial or in-kind contributions from McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, the Wildish Companies, Rexius Forest Products, Willamalane, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, SUB, the City of Springfield, and the Springfield School District. The Springfield Rotary Club made this their 2021 signature project,” said Thomas. “We also have carry-over contributions from the Springfield Educational Foundation which has served as a conduit for Shana’s memorial funds that were first established 11 years ago.”
“Our hearts are so grateful for every entity that has contributed so far,” said Van Buskirk.