The Baptist Town neighborhood revitalization has existed as an idea for a long time. A really long time – the first study was conducted in 2001. When I moved to Greenwood, I knew that was the reality of the situation, but knowing about the issue hasn’t made it any easier to convince people both in and out of Baptist Town that change is happening. Further challenging, is the fact that significantly planning and preparatory steps have been necessary before we could make any tangible progress.
At last, a couple of weeks ago, we built a pocket park in the neighborhood. Though many negative opinions were shared with us by passers by (“That is just going to get torn up.”, “They are going to shoot out the lights.”, “They are going to steal the benches.”), we also got very positive comments, the most encouraging: “You’re actually doing something!”.
Construction was an adventure, with donated materials, all volunteer crews, and a rainy day for pouring concrete. The Carl Small Town Center, both directors and student workers, spent 4 days on site, and were a very flexible and hard working group. Harvard’s CDP group also joined us to lend a hand. But most importantly, neighborhood residents were also a part of the digging, building formwork, and pouring concrete.
At the end of the week, we had finished the majority of the work, and the biggest reward came when last Tuesday one of the previously skeptical residents told me she enjoyed sitting on the benches all weekend long. She said, “It’s my favorite place. I love it.”
We’re so glad you love it, Dorothy! We are going to keep polishing up the benches and are hoping our streetlights arrive soon, so look for updated pictures in the next couple of weeks.