April 13, 2018 10:01:15 AM
Sunday will mark the kick-off for a new Starkville In Motion Adopt-A-Park program at J.L. King Park.
The program was originally scheduled for Saturday, but has been pushed to 1 p.m. Sunday due to expected severe weather.
Starkville In Motion treasurer Chris Ayers said the program, which allows community organizations to adopt parks, is an effort to get more people involved in Starkville's parks.
"We wanted to try and get various community organization in Starkville to adopt local parks," Ayers said. "The idea is maybe once a month, they'd go out and do a bit of cleanup and assess things they'd like to see fixed or changed in the park and relay that to our organization so we can send it to the Parks Department."
Sunday's event will begin with the Oktibbeha County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) working at J.L. King Park.
"The NAACP always likes to partner with other community organizations," Oktibbeha County chapter president Chris Taylor said. "We decided to adopt J.L. King because it's in the black community."
J.L. King Park has received more upgrades than any other park in Starkville's system in the past few months, according to Parks Department Interim Director Gerry Logan.
Logan said the department installed a new 65-foot by 45-foot playground at the park earlier this year and recently received a $2,000 grant to install a nine-hole disc golf course. He said the park's pavilions have recently gotten roof upgrades, and the parks department completed some upgrades to the softball fields over the winter.
Logan said he was happy to see local organizations getting involved in the park system.
"It's definitely good to have volunteer groups and local groups interested in helping us out," he said. "There's always a ton of needs in our park system around town. We're glad to have folks who can help and can definitely complement what we do. We're glad that they've shown the interest and are going in that direction to have their first cleanup, weather permitting."
Ayers said Sunday's event isn't only limited to members of the NAACP.
"Any volunteers or individuals in the community that want to join a group or help multiple groups, or people who live in that neighborhood or maybe aren't in an organization can still go out and help them," he said.
More programs are likely coming for other parks. Ayers said the Lions Club has adopted the community center and recreation areas in the Needmore neighborhood, and Starkville Community Church has adopted Moncrief Park.
He said Starkville in Motion has partnered with Keep Starkville Beautiful to help get volunteers and supplies.
Ayers said he hopes the program will help foster discussions between the community and the parks department.
"Sometimes people complain about the condition of some of our parks and we are an organization that wants people to be active and healthy in the community," Ayers said. "Part of that is these organizations that have members in the area near those parks can take responsibility in helping to make the changes they'd like to see.
"The parks department has limited budget and staff, so the community can help with giving them details on what needs to be done and what they'd like to see done," he added.
For organizations that would like to adopt a park, Ayers said a form is available at www.starkvilleinmotion.org.
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