May 17, 2012
By Hilary Scott (email@example.com) , The Post-Journal
Lillian Dickson Park is starting to see improvements and will see even more this Saturday.
The Lillian Dickson Park group, which first met in February, is making progress toward upgrading and renovating the park to make it safer and more family-friendly.
The group is spearheaded by the Chautauqua County Health Network's Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play project. Peter Lombardi, director of Neighborhood Initiatives with Jamestown Renaissance Corp., is very involved with the group and is eager for the park to be a model neighborhood park that engages neighbors and friends in safe, healthy and community building events and activities.
The park group is also working closely with the city. The Parks Department has already begun some initial work at the park, as it recently took down a tree that was in poor condition, removed unsafe playground equipment and installed grills at the park. The city is also working with the architects who consulted on the Roseland Park project to create plans of what the park will eventually look like.
At earlier park meetings, community members noted the improvements in the park, as well as a greater police presence in the Lillian Dickson Park area and that there was an increase of children playing in the park. One of the group members is also making progress establishing a Neighborhood Watch group in the area.
To make the park itself safer, this Saturday during Hands On Jamestown Community Cleanup Day the group, with help from volunteers and the city's park staff, plans on installing a fall zone area under the current playground equipment and trim lower branches from trees at the back of park to open it up for better visibility. Other planned efforts include painting the park's pavilion, weeding the park edges and doing general clean-up in and around the park as well as the local neighborhood.
There are already over 40 volunteers set to help, including groups from Home Depot, Chautauqua Opportunities Inc., the Washington Middle School builders group and the park's neighbors, as well as members of the parks staff. Any other neighbors who would like to lend a helping hand are encouraged to come to the park from 8 a.m. to noon.
Commenting about the group's latest meeting on Tuesday, Janet Forbes, Creating Healthy Places project coordinator, told The Post-Journal, "It was a terrific meeting, with a few new neighbors attending and engaging. We had several children attend along with their parents and other families who were in the park playing and having a good time."
During the meeting, John Williams, city parks manager, said that the next Parks Commission meeting will be held at the park, noting it would be a great chance to have the commission visit the and learn more about what is happening there.
The groups plans to hold several events in the park this summer to both help bring people to the park to enjoy the facility and to raise awareness to the groups efforts. On June 25, the park will host a music event, and on July 21, there will be a block party and picnic.
The group also plans to have a community yard sale in August in conjunction with the Lakeview Avenue event.
The money for the project is coming from the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play grant, city park funds and fundraising efforts of the Lillian Dickson Park Group. The group has set a goal of raising $30,000 for the park.
The group recently established a non-endowed pass-through account through the Chautauqua Region community Foundation for the park. There are also accounts set up at the Southside Redemption Center and Don's Carwash where people can donate cans and bottles to help improve the park.
"We would like to highlight the need for assistance with fundraising and community events in the Park," said Forbes.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lillian Dickson Park. For more information about the group and its improvement projects or to donate or participate, call Janet Forbes at 338-0010.
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