Taking pride and helping clean up London’s community parks
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
The skies may have been threatening, but nothing was going to ruin the community spirit that was evident in Kiwanis Park on Friday (July 27) at the launch of the city’s Adopt-A-Park program.
Mayor Joe Fontana, Ward 2 Councillor Bill Armstrong, several city staffers and members of the Royal View Church took part in the launch of a program that was one of the key projects identified within the London Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy. Adopt-A-Park, which seeks out community groups to partner with the city to maintain and enhance local parks, was created to promote community engagement, neighbourhood pride and environmental stewardship.
“A lot of people say, how can I help my city? This is one area I think shows how people who really want to help the city can do something really spectacular,” Fontana said. “This is where the community, coming together, working with the city, can do something to improve the quality of life.”
The mayor said the city has 400 parks, and therefore, is in need of 399 more partners, whether they are from service clubs, youth groups, business organizations, not-for-profits or anyone looking to “come together and pridefully look after some great assets of our city.”
The project will see each community group commit to working with the city for at least two years in coordinating park projects and events, including hosting two annual clean-up days in the park. The city, in turn, will provide the tools each group will need to be successful in their cleanup and enhancement efforts, and provide assistance and expertise with requesting funding and coordinating plantings.
Bill Coxhead, director of parks and recreation, said the program is an “opportunity” for members of the community to get involved with the preservation of maintenance of their neighbourhood parks
“It is important to know there are lots of opportunities to get involved in your neighbourhood park,” Coxhead said. “What we are also seeing is the great need for people to take pride of what is in their neighbourhoods.”
Sarah Montes is certainly excited about the opportunity presented by Adopt-A-Park. Montes, youth ministries director at Royal View Church, said the program is a natural fit with the church’s mission.
“I think it is a fantastic program to encourage people to be involved within their community, to love and serve in their community,” Montes said. “It is a great park, a great location. Our children and our youth departments will take the opportunity to bring our students down; we want our kids to love their community, not just the environment, but also the people in the community.”
For Armstrong, Royal View Church’s involvement in the Adopt-A-Park shows how grand a gesture can be made through even the smallest of effort. However, that effort, Armstrong, cannot be minimized, whether it is by a church group, a service club, or anyone who wants to help improve their community.
“What it shows is these people care about their community and it makes others think about what they should be doing, what part they should be playing,” Armstrong said. “This is what community was all about many years ago and I think maybe we lost our way a little bit, but we are going that way again. People taking back their neighbourhoods, taking control of their environments, so we can have a better community for everyone.”
More information about the program is available by visiting the city’s website at www.london.ca/Adopt-A-Park or by calling the community projects coordinator at 519-661-4980.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News