When Hamilton’s newest park opens next spring in the Jefferson neighborhood, all 17 of the city’s neighborhoods will have their own parks.
Technically, Jefferson already has the park. But it’s so new, people aren’t allowed to step foot on it, because that would harm the newly-planted grass seed, covered with straw. The grass seed is why Saturday’s noon-to-3 p.m. celebration of the park will be a street party, right next to the park at East and Hensley avenues. If it rains, the party moves indoors to the nearby Boys & Girls Club.
“It’s basically a street party celebrating the fact that we will have a park that opens next year,” said Woody Parman of The Jefferson Alliance, a community group working to improve the neighborhood. “Right now it’s just a big dirt lot with grass seed, but the parks conservancy is putting it all together.”
Hamilton natives Frank and Joanne Pfirman, whose family owns the JN Linrose company next to the park, contributed the vacant 1.2 acres in June. At that time, city officials said it might take five years to develop the property.
But Hamilton Parks Conservancy Director Steve Timmer, who has transformed the city’s parks into well-kept gems, considered five years too long. His goal is to have it ready to go within a year from the gift, by the time schools take their summer break next year.
Already the parks conservancy has removed gravel that was nearly 8 inches deep from the former parking lot and replaced it with the same amount of topsoil. Crews also built a privacy fence to separate the park from a nearby home.
Timmer on Saturday will unveil plans for the park, giving people a preview of the park, which will include children’s playground equipment. He was able to purchase an $80,000 play set for $20,000 that will be supplemented with swings and other equipment that will have a total cost, including installation, of about $50,000, rather than $100,000.
Timmer, who said couple Harry and Jerri Thomas also donated $20,000 to the park, is seeking funds for other improvements. Those interested in giving can call 513-785-7055.
Pictures of the equipment will be on display during the street party, which will include free pizza and hot dogs, a raffle, a bouncy castle, cornhole and other games.
“I think it will be a gathering place for the neighborhood to come together,” Parman said. “A place for families and children to congregate. It’s something that hopefully will give the residents pride in where they live.”
He describes the neighborhood as blighted and diverse, with about 30 percent Hispanic residents and 20 percent African-American.
“It’s important to bring all of our neighbors together to make it a safer, less blighted neighborhood,” Parman said.
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