2 who led park water-fountain drive will get award

Ann Brenner, with her dogs Quarky (left) and Buddy, at the Robson-Harrington drinking fountain she suggested.
Ann Brenner, with her dogs Quarky (left) and Buddy, at the Robson-Harrington drinking fountain she suggested.

Ann Brenner and Grier Argall, whose joint efforts resulted in a new public drinking fountain at Robson-Harrington Park, will get a Green Award.


It will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 at the San Anselmo Town Council meeting — a postponement from last month because a family emergency meant the presenter, Woody Weingarten of the Quality of Life Commission, had to fly to Georgia.


The water fountain, to replace one that hadn’t functioned in years, originally was Brenner’s idea. But Argall physically made it happen by donating his time, expertise and supplies.


For four years, the 61-year-old Brenner had been pulling overgrown ivy and weeds in the park, and even hired one of her son’s friends to help. Her volunteer efforts, she says, were an outgrowth of her spending a lot of time there with her dogs — and “loving to watch the many children at play.”


To advance the fountain project, she donated money and got some of her friends to do the same. They came up with the lion’s share of the $1,475 needed to fund the fixture itself. The town paid for the rest.


Says Brenner, a longtime Ross resident, “I just love the park, and that the community gardens and fruit trees are there. I think it’s a lovely setting. I can even remember back 26 years when my husband and I took a class in the library of the house.”


Argall, a 48-year-old who’s lived in San Anselmo since he was six months old, recruited two assistants (plus his two sons, who helped with digging) to install the fountain, which has a faucet for humans on top and a spigot for dogs on the side.


Their combined two days of work saved San Anselmo about $2,500.


According to Town Manager Debbie Stutsman, the new lower park area fountain has been getting “rave reviews.”


Shortly before finishing that volunteer job, Argall completed  — “at cost,” he notes — a park sewer-drain project that required him to install about 250 feet of pipe.


Argall dates his being motivated “to help my community” to two childhood influences.


One was Paul Chirone, a stonemason who hired him to help patch Robson-Harrington’s deteriorating walls. “He was a true inspiration to me,” recalls Argall.


And then Argall chuckles. “I also remember when he paid me four bits and a box of grapefruits for a day’s work.” 


He recollects, too, participating, as a fifth-grader at Wade Thomas, in an organic gardening project that taught him about ecology and protecting the environment. “I can see myself at 10 holding a bunch of mud with worms sticking out of it.”


The park, he adds, “was always my neighborhood. My friends and I’d play baseball and Frisbee there, without parents having to watch us.”


Argall’s dream “was to live in the house I grew up in, and raise my children in the community I was raised in. I’m the richest man in the world for being able to do that. And I love not having to leave this town when I go to work every day.”


The award, decided recently by a unanimous vote of the Quality of Life Commission, is given “unsung heroes,” volunteers who have aided the town without expectation of recognition or reward.


The Brenner-Argall team will become the 32nd Green Award recipient.


It was previously given Liz Huntington, Alex Godbe, Dick Glanville, Lisa Hamilton, Jo Ann Richards, Rene Voss, Linda Hoch, Rich Torresan, Jo Julin, Jake Luria, Anna Frost, Brian Crawford, the team of David Fox and Sheila Mutter, Jeff Hvid, Conn Rusche, Charles Kennard, the team of Steve Reinertsen and Scott Weeks, Sita Khufu, Rohana McLaughlin, Joyce Brown, Larry Nilsen, Matt Eakle, Ted Bakkila, Christine Dietrich Cragg, Bob Mellin, H.G. Von Dallwitz, Denali Gillaspie, Jonathan Braun, Dan Goltz and the husband-wife team of Janet Byrum and Bob Fleming.


Nominations for the environmentally oriented Green Awards, or the broader Silver Awards, can be hand-delivered or mailed to: Quality of Life Commission, c/o Town of San Anselmo, 525 San Anselmo Ave., or e-mailed to voodee@sbcglobal.net or townclerk@ci.san-anselmo.ca.us.

Frank Williams April 11, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Congratulations team Brenner-Argall! Now let's work on getting a public restroom in the park! We just paid the city to rent the picnic area only to find there are no restrooms for guests.


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