Phoenix officials gave an early Christmas gift to a neighboring city. A giant red bow adorned the front of a nearly new golf cart at the center of attention during a chilly morning rain Wednesday at the Phoenix Public Works yard.

Phoenix officials gave an early Christmas gift to a neighboring city. A giant red bow adorned the front of a nearly new golf cart at the center of attention during a chilly morning rain Wednesday at the Phoenix Public Works yard.

Representatives for the Rogue River Greenway were on hand to receive the cart from city officials.

One of four carts purchased by 89-year-old Phoenix resident Bill Finnegan, a retired policeman who donated the carts for security use after a teenage girl was raped on the Bear Creek Greenway in March 2005, the carts were originally donated to Phoenix, Talent, Ashland and Central Point for greenway patrols.

Mail Tribune reports in September, however, found the carts going unused or being used for purposes other than Finnegan intended when he paid some $20,000 for the four carts.

City Manager Joe Wrabeck said the city learned that the Rogue River Greenway, a 30-mile stretch of trails being constructed between Central Point and Grants Pass was in dire need of a cart.

Having completed the first 11.5 miles with 2.5 miles slated for construction in the near future, Rogue River Greenway spokeswoman Shane Maxwell said consistent patrols and maintenance was a priority.

Maxwell was excited about the gift. Her two trail monitors, Ron Willing and Charles "Tip" Tipton, who help patrol and maintain Rogue River's version of the Bear Creek Greenway, drove the first few feet in the new cart.

Maxwell said she'd been begging and pleading for a golf cart since the first mile of trail had been officially opened.

Every newsletter, she noted, made mention of the need for a cart.

"You are giving us a Christmas gift that's been on our wish list for some time," Maxwell said. "We've really needed a golf cart to patrol and maintain our trail. One of the things we learned from Bear Creek is we have to stay on top of issues like transient camps."

Finnegan, who donated the carts in memory of his late brother, Dr. John Finnegan, said he's pleased the cart will be used as intended.

"I'm happy to do it but the only problem is I donated four of them and the others aren't being used," he said. "I bought four of them for the Greenway. I walk every night but you never see them out there "¦ I'm glad at least one of them is getting used like I wanted."

Officials in the other cities that got carts have said they have no staff to operate them, though the trails often see a police presence.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.