Douglass Park got a special spruce-up Saturday in honor of its 100th birthday this year.
About 150 people spent a full day hard at work. They painted the restroom and concession stand buildings, removed brush and limbs, repainted the parking lot lines, pressure washed the tennis courts, tore out an old section of fencing and planted 100 lilies.
“We did a beautiful job,” said Diane Marshall, president of the Georgetown Street Neighborhood Association.
“It hadn’t been done in forever and ever,” she said. “We were tired of our park looking bad.”
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The event is part of an overall effort to revitalize and celebrate the history of the 27-acre park, which was created during the time of segregation and for years offered the city’s only recreational facilities — including the only pool — that allowed black citizens.
Saturday’s cleanup was also part of Habitat’s Love Your Neighborhood program, which attempts to strengthen communities by making them safer and helping increase neighborhood pride.
I grew up in this park. All I know is this park. I want to make sure that it stays looking good.
John Brown, neighborhood association member
John McClelland, Habitat’s director of construction, said the organization has built a lot of houses in the neighborhood around the park, and improving it will help build up the entire community.
“If it looks good, people take better care of it,” he said.
Part of the day’s work included cutting down bushes and brush that had grown up around the swimming pool and in a wooded area, which made it hard to see what was going on in the park, McClelland said.
“It’s a safer area, and sight lines are available,” said Greg Holden, who brought his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son out to help with the event. “(We’re) trying to clean up the park and create a space where people can get back out here.”
Supplies were paid for through a Neighborhood Action Grant from the city that had been received by the neighborhood association. The Lowe’s Heroes Program also helped provide equipment.
John Brown, a member of the neighborhood association and an employee of the city’s Division of Waste Management, volunteered to operate a garbage truck to pick up tree limbs and brush during the event. By the time the day was finished, he said, the truck was about three-fourths full.
“I grew up in this park,” Brown said. “All I know is this park. I want to make sure that it stays looking good.”