Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Neighborhood Dreams do come true...

Perhaps I should title this entry "the joy of having our new park."

This past week, the dedication/ribbon cutting was held for our new park at the corner of 400 East and 400 North. Joaquin Park became an official reality, open for recreation! Since then, pretty much every time I drive by, I see people there enjoying it. It is everything we envisioned, and perhaps more. Generations of Joaquin residents of all kinds will enjoy it.

It all started with a dream--we wanted another park to serve the approximately 15,000 people who live in this neighborhood. We knew we were losing Joaquin elementary, and needed green space badly. This neighborhood has the highest density in the state, and needs green space wherever it can be found.

Inspiration strikes all of us at times, and even I am no exception. I was out walking around our neighborhood one morning, and noticed three really dilapidated houses on that corner were all empty. They looked tough, and needed love. But, despite my love for old houses, I thought that this would be a great place for a park.

Dave Anderson, my friend and neighbor, (who is a City Planner for Spanish Fork) drew up a plan for a park at this site. I started trying to "sell" it to Provo City Council members. Some nearly scoffed, others listened. The push continued, and thanks to some great help from Cindy Richards and George Stewart, our park began to take form.

It took years, yes years to acquire all the property. Four houses in all. My thanks to Paul Glauser and Julie Beck from the Provo City redevelopment agency for their help on this task. Then the Parks and Recreation department took over, and gathered a committee of neighbors to create a general plan. Frankly, they did an excellent job!

Generations of children, parents, and yes, young folks from BYU on dates and family home evenings will spend time in that beautiful little park. It's trees will grow, and the years will pass, but the dream has become a reality.

Don't ever doubt that what you work for and believe in can become a reality.

So now my friends, what do you dream of for the Joaquin Neighborhood?

I dream of a neighborhood where these wonderful old historic homes are lovingly cherished by owner occupants who care about them.