Two Englewood residents decided the city's parks could use volunteer help and are taking steps to see if others feel the same way as they seek to form the Friends of Englewood Parks. “I am a mom …
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Two Englewood residents decided the city's parks could use volunteer help and are taking steps to see if others feel the same way as they seek to form the Friends of Englewood Parks.
“I am a mom with two small children who like to take my kids to the park,” Englewood resident Emily Gonzalez said. “We live close and use Jason Park. But there are a lot of weeds and some of the playground equipment is broken. We talked to the city parks and recreation department and they told us there were a number of projects they wanted to do to repair equipment and improve the parks but the money just wasn't available. Jess Dory and I are trying to form a group of residents who will volunteer to help spruce up the parks.”
She said the Friends of Englewood Parks invite all residents interested in the parks to attend their first meeting, which will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 15 at Romans Park. Romans Park is located at 1700 E. Floyd Ave., stretching eastward from South Franklin Street.
Gonzalez said they checked with the city by attending parks and recreation meetings. She said they also attended a session on the city budget.
“The city established the 2017 parks and recreation plan that included major upgrades to the playground equipment in all the parks,” she said. “But Dorothy Hargrove, library and parks and recreation director, told us there were a number of improvements that the department would like to do but there just weren't the funds to do those improvements. We formed our group to work with the city and try to help make those improvements happen.”
She said the research showed there were three possible courses of action — do nothing, find more funding sources or look at the possibility of merging Englewood parks with South Suburban Parks and Recreation Department.
“We want to keep our parks a part of our community,” she said. “The first step is to show the city residents support keeping our parks a park of Englewood. The next step is to determine the best way to bring additional funds to the parks department. A national survey showed cities the size of Englewood allocate about $100 per person on parks. Englewood allocates about $70 per person. The study also showed that a city the size of Englewood has about 25 full-time parks employees. Englewood parks have 15 full-time employees.”
She said the plans are to hold the first meeting to determine if there is community support to try to improve the parks. She said the first meeting will also be to help tell residents about the goals of the parks master plan and the fact that some of the goals may get done and some may not get done based on funding.
“Hopefully we will have a big turnout for our meeting,” she said. “We just want the city to know there are a lot of residents who love our parks and want to do what we can to make our parks better.”
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