With monetary help from the state and city officials, and volunteer labor from community residents, Lillian Dickson Park has been reformed.
On Tuesday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the renovated park, which is located along Falconer Street between Bowen and Sturges streets. In 2012, The Friends of Lillian Dickson Park group formed to make improvements to the park. Since then, more than $13,000 in charitable contributions have been made, more than $11,000 was given by the Chautauqua County Health Network and around $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding was used toward renovating the park with new playground equipment. The new equipment includes a handicap-accessible preschool play area, toddler climbing wall, flywheel spinner, fall zone materials, benches, a bike rack, trash cans, perimeter fence and a park sign. In May, community volunteers gathered together to build the new playground equipment.
”What a terrific place to live, work and play,” said Ann Morse Abdella, Chautauqua County Health Network executive director.
Abdella said 50 community organizations are involved in the Chautauqua County Health Network, which is dedicated to strengthening the local health and wellness delivery system for Chautauqua County. The money from the Chautauqua County Health Network came from a five-year state grant. Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play is the initiative to improve parks, build community gardens and to have more farmers markets. Abdella said it has been the most effective state program for improving the health of a community. She said just like in the saying, ”It takes a village to raise a child,” the same could be said about building a park.
”It certainly takes a city to renovate a park,” she said.
Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said it was a community effort to improve Lillian Dickson Park. He said it took more than just state and local money to improve the park. It took local residents forming The Friends of Lillian Dickson Park group who took the idea of improving the park and made it a reality.
”A city can never have too many jobs or too many playgrounds,” he said.
Dave Reinhardt, The Friends of Lillian Dickson Park chairman, said he has seen the improvements in the neighborhood, with more families now wanting to spend time in the community park. He thanked all those who supported the neighborhood project.
”You have changed this park, and this community,” he said.