Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Retirees Plan to Revive Park

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Retirees Plan to Revive Park

Article excerpt

They want senior citizens who are afraid to leave their

homes on the weekends to get out more.

They want to pump life back into Jacksonville's Eastside.

And they want to be mentors to neighborhood youths gone

awry.

Members of the Jacksonville International Longshoremen's

Retirees Association hope to accomplish those goals through

a project that they say will benefit the whole

community.

The association, made up of 52 members, decided that

it will try to establish organized events at the old Wigmore

Park at 1805 Talleyrand Ave. this year, in hopes of usurping

the drug dealing and vagrancy that exist.

The retirees want Wigmore to be used for neighborhood

recreation for seniors, as well as become a hub for children

by involving them in educational programs, said Harry Fields,

financial secretary for the association.

"We decided to redo the park because we wanted to work

with kids and senior citizens," Fields said. "We want to

have the seniors outside, where they can catch some fresh

air because everything they do is inside."

Dan Weimer, division chief of planning, research and

grants at the city's parks and recreation department, said

this will be the first retiree group to take on such a

project.

Weimer said the parks and recreation office asked neighbors

in the past to help clean up the park, but at that time

no one was interested. Now that the community wants to take

back the park, Weimer said he thinks Wigmore will survive

desertion.

"Any time the community shows a vested interest, the

park is usually maintained," Weimer said. "There's less

vandalism. This is an indication of a change in the community.

It's especially wonderful that a group of retirees want

to do this."

The association will receive $10,000 in River City Renaissance

funds from City Councilman Terry Fields, whose district

includes the park, to help spruce up Wigmore -- which was

on the brink of shutting down, according to a spokeswoman

at Fields' office. …

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