The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a non-profit organization that works to conserve land for people in order to improve the quality of life in communities nationwide. Over the past thirty years, TPL has created, protected, or restored more than 130 special places in the nine regional counties alone.
Its Community Parks and Playgrounds Program focuses on revitalizing existing parks in low income, resource-challenged urban communities. One project they have identified since early 2016, is the lower playground of the City Park which is located just north of the Grey Hill Recreation Center on Washington St -groundbreaking is expected to happen in2016.
Amos Wells, a community relations program manager, has recently begun efforts to ensure that the community is heavily involved in all stages of this project. He has introduced himself to the local Boosters and has asked for input about the park from neighborhood kids participating in summer programs at the Neighborhood House. Part of his out-reach efforts has revolved around working with the community to identify needs and develop strategies for park use that will be both sustainable and positive for the neighborhood.
Through conversations with contacts he’s made over the past three months, Wells has been made aware of the desire for more jobs, educational opportunities, and stronger relationships amongst the diverse communities divided by the park.
Wells has had preliminary discussions with the City Conservation Corps, who maintain public housing parks and landscaping, to discuss their mutual interests in recruiting young people from the neighborhood to help maintain the park.
For the first efforts around community bridge building, Wells is organizing a community BBQ/mixer at the park, taking place from noon to 6 pm on Saturday. The event is free, and all residents of the city are invited to attend.
The event will feature live music, entertainment for all ages, food, and an opportunity to mingle with folks in the neighborhood. Useful information about the value of parks, living healthy, and community building will also be available.
The City Community Arts Project will host an art table at the event, where neighbors can collaborate together or work individually on art pieces for the project. The goal of this organization is to foster community through the creation of a collaborative art piece reflecting the diversity of the city is displayed at the Neighborhood House on next Monday.