Springfield volunteers were scattered throughout the city today for the 22nd Annual United Way Day of Caring. As KSMU’s Briana Simmons reports, Washington Park was among the sites to receive some tender, love, and care.
A nice breeze accompanied the volunteers of Cox College at Washington Park Thursday morning. Olujimi “Jimi” Sode is the site coordinator. He says about 60 volunteers joined the efforts to revamp one of the city’s oldest parks.
“One of our values is community service so what better way to come out to a park two blocks away and give back to the community,” Sode said.
The makeover included cleaning and painting the park’s gazebo, flower bed maintenance, painting playground equipment, and other various projects to enhance the park’s beauty.
Amanda Joy, a first year student at Cox College, says volunteering with her classmates helped bring them together.
“This is my first year at Cox and our fourth day together and we’re going to be with these people for the next two years. So I’ve gotten to know the five girls really well because I’ve been with them most of the day,” Joy said.
Washington Park is admired for its central location lined by residential homes, but it’s the parks interesting history that makes it even more special.
John Sellar, executive director of the History Museum, says at one time Division Street literally divided what was then North Springfield and Springfield.
“They built Washington and Lafayette [Park] so that when North Springfield and Springfield merged in 1887 they became a part of Springfield and became our first two city parks,” Sellar said.
Although Washington Park is one of the projects receiving attention today it is not the only site. In 2013, Day of Caring volunteers completed 165 projects around Springfield.