Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dean Park- A Year Later

The logs are gone, the debris is removed, children are playing, the pavilion is almost completed, Miss Ruth’s Babies’ Concession Stand is renovated, the tulips have bloomed and the Dean Park Commission is busy taking care of business to get the tornado damages repaired. The youth are hoping that the basketball court will be repaired real soon.

The NEG workers have done a great job to help clean the park and the community from debris and overgrowth. The Center Ridge Community regrets that the NEG Grant runs out May 16, 2015 with much work left to be done. A member of Friends of Dean Park, Inc. (FODP) stated that she hope the business community will reach out and hire some of these workers in permanent positions. Most of them have been working since August 2014 which makes a statement.

The Experience Works and the TANF trainees have been busy tilling the soil, helping with planting the raised bed community gardens, transplanting trees and flowers. They have fertilized most of the grass, shrubbery and trees. FODP and the Dean Park Commission are delighted to have them working at Dean Park. They work diligently as they are learn about landscaping from the Master Gardeners. The Master Gardeners of Winston County pruned the landscape around the playground earlier in the spring and the trainees are preparing to put mulch around it after the sprinkler system is repaired. County Agent Mike Skipper, a gem in our county, plans to repair it. FODP thanks him for all the advice and volunteering that he did before and after the tornado.

The beautiful pine trees left during the tornado but they are slowly
being replaced. The ten bald cypress trees that were planted in Dean Park near the lake by the Modern Woodmen of America Youth Service Club are all alive and healthy. They were planted on the 6 month anniversary of the tornado in memory of: Ruth Eichelberger-Bennett, Jerry Carter, Leonard Carter, Catherine Ferguson, Sean Fowler, Gregory Jernigan, Sarah Massey, Dora Triplett, Terri and Tyler Tucker.

A special thanks to Esco Hemphill for donating trees, especially the beautiful red oak tree placed in memory of Christine Waldrip’s granddaughter and great grandson. Thanks to Barbara Eichelberger-Coleman for donating 8 silver leaf maples in memory of Kytie Knowles-Hughes, which were set out by the NEG workers last fall – all lived. Kytie Hughes-Knowles was the mother of our oldest member, Betsy Ann Eichelberger. Penelope Eichelberger donated a red leaf maple in memory of Samuel Eichelberger who was a dedicated member of FODP. Mexican art in the shape of a smiling sun was donation by two FODP members in memory of former dedicated Dean Park Commissioners Claudell Hughes-Weaver.

Barbara Coburn-Jenkins came to volunteer in the recovery from Sacramento, CA. She had collected monetary donations with park of it given to FODP which was used to give scholarships to graduating seniors who lost their home in the tornado; $500. went to support Center Ridge Church, a Disaster Relief Center, to help pay utilities and $500. went to the RISE Program, an after school children’s program, operated out of Faith Beyond Wall Christian with NEG workers as tutors and cooks.

The Friends of Dean Park, Inc. (FODP) has been busy since the EF
Tornado devastated Winston County helping in the recovery process – not just recovery of the park but recovery in the surrounding Center Ridge Community. According to President Richard Moncrief, FODP helped assess damages to the park with FEMA, Buddy King, the county’s Emergency Management Administrator and Supervisor Gloria Turnipseed. Helpful during the assessment were photos that FODP had taken several days prior to the tornado for a walking track for which they had received a grant for. The group also had photos of Dean Park several days after the tornado.

Friends of Dean Park, Inc. held its regular monthly membership meeting Saturday, April 25, 2015 and considered goals and a calendar for the rest of the year.

Plans were made for:

-May 1, 2015-Participation at Talent Show with INFusion at Eiland Middle School

-May 2, 2015 -Walmart Day, at Walmart to solicit donations (donations are tax deductible)

- May 9, 2015-Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

- May 15, 2015-Participation with INFusion at Fun Day, 190 W. College Street, Louisville, MS

- May 16, 2014-Beautification Day at Dean Park, 9 a.m. – until

- May 23, 2015-Participation in the Red Hills Festival

- June 6, 2015-Participation in Juneteenth Day Festival

- June 13, 2015-Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

-July 11, 2015-Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

-August 8, 2015- Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

-September 12, 2015-Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

-October 3, 2015-Annual Harvest Festival/Health Fair

-October 31, 2015-Halloween Festival (upon approval from Dean Park Commission)

-November 14, 2015- Monthly Membership Meeting, 11 a.m.

-December 7, 2015-Participation in Christmas Parade with city

-December 12, 2015-Tree Decorating and Lighting Ceremony with Girl Scouts @ Dean Park

“Recovery is slow but it is a certainty. Many in our county are so blessed to be alive and back in their homes. Some others are still in the process and we pray for them to have the patience until theirs is complete. We pray that they have found a way to be grateful until that time. We thank God for all the wonderful volunteers who come to our county to help in the recovery. We especially thank our ‘homegrown’ long term recovery committee, Winston Strong and our local official and state officials.” -Elmetra Patterson, Vice President, Friends of Dean Park, Inc., 510.672-2106