The community-building effort of Kiwanis Methow Park in South Wenatchee is getting wonderful coverage. The Trust for Public Land’s Land and People magazine featured the park and some of its key community advocates after they visited a similar project in South Los Angeles and networked with individuals who are cleaning up alleys and turning them into inviting green spaces.
One of the most intriguing parts of the Kiwanis Methow Park rejuvenation is two-fold: The involvement and engagement by so many neighbors is creating a vision for a park that will serve the neighborhood and community, and the neighbors are also volunteering to become “Parque Padrinos” or godparents of the park to help support and stay involved with the effort.
One of the aspects of healthy communities is that people develop a sense of ownership of their community and their neighborhood and are willing to step forward and get involved.
This past summer, several Padrinos, including Lizbeth Rivera, Teresa Zepeda and Teresa Bendito, visited the Equipo Verde (Green Team) project in Los Angeles at the invitation of TPL to share experiences and ideas about community building.
Equipo Verde volunteers are transforming what were unsafe and unsightly alleyways into green spaces that are more secure and that encourage community pride and involvement.
Building on these types of grass-roots efforts, whether they happen in dense urban environments or in rural communities, is essential to fostering a greater sense of civic pride and sense of engagement and ownership. Connecting those threads will strengthen the community and invite others to get involved, stay active and connect with their neighbors.
I am committed to the notion that restoring that sense of collective ownership in our communities will build resilience, reduce isolation and encourage involvement.
You can see the TPL story of the meeting between the Parque Padrinos and the Equipo Verde at this link: https://wwrld.us/parkwork.
Rufus Woods is the publisher emeritus of The Wenatchee World. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-665-1162.