By Teri Nehrenz
Ann Leavitt’s full speech can be heard here. All Photos by Teri Nehrenz
Mesquite families hold a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the early settlement of the Virgin Valley.
When it comes to archiving family history, there is no better than the LDS church in doing so. Many members of the LDS church have written articles and published books on the settling of the Virgin Valley, all of which are available at the Mesquite Heritage Museum.
The rich history of the Virgin Valley is one of Mesquite’s most popular subjects and most exciting.
Settling the Virgin Valley was not easy. Many farms and homesteads were lost to floods caused by the Virgin River, others were lost to desert droughts before irrigation was installed, and even to illness. There is an abundance of knowledge available for those who are interested and like to read.
Soon residents will be able to learn about history in a unique way.
Yesterday, Feb. 16, a slue of folks broke ground on the new Virgin Valley Pioneer Park (VVPP). The new park is a dream come true for the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Family Foundation.
Mayor Litman was excited to be part of the groundbreaking, “I’ve been working on this project for seven years.” The mayor went on to explain that it was going well at the beginning and then for one reason or another was put on hold for a while. Dixie Leavitt contacted him last year with the good news that the project was ready to move forward once again.
Dixie and Ann were born and raised in the Virgin Valley, their parents being some of the earlier settlers. Loving the community, they were raised in, they stayed and raised their family here as well.
The Leavitts have seen an explosion of growth over the past two decades and have enjoyed watching their community grow to the wonderful place it is today. They love Mesquite so much they wanted to become part of the future growth, but they didn’t want to leave the past completely behind, so they found a way to incorporate both.
The new Virgin Valley Pioneer Park will be a beautiful modern mix of living, retail, and entertainment spaces that will incorporate statues and plaques remembering those who first came to the valley.
The purpose of the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Family Foundation is to improve the community. Their number one rule is that nobody can personally benefit from the funds they receive; funds must aid the community. Anne Leavitt said the purpose of this park is to remember those who were here before us and to benefit all who follow. Rental income, sales of living spaces, and any other money generated will benefit the children and grandchildren of present community members.
In the videos below you can listen to what’s going on straight from those who are making the plans.
Editor’s Note: Mesquite Today was at the event and recorded some video. Not being completely comfortable with microphones in hand, some of the videos is hard to hear but I’ve pulled some of the ones that weren’t. Dixie Leavitt did give a wonderful speech, but it was very difficult to hear when the mic wasn’t right up to him. We apologize for the sound issues, but they were out of our control.
If you’re interested in the Virgin Valley Fight Song, Vincent Leavitt sang the song first and Cecil Leavitt led the audience in another round of a group sing.
List of folks who shoveled some dirt
Mayor Al Litman, Phyllis Litman, Wes Boger, George Gault, Sandra Ramaker, Karen Dutkowski, Dixie, Ann, Mark Dane, David and Vincent Leavitt, Steven Olsen, Ken Harris, Tyson Snow, Lyman Hafen, Darin Zwick, Carl Peterson, Jimmy Zimmerman, Travis Anderson, Todd Welker, Steven Snow and Garth Frehner.