South Bend Venues Parks & Arts (SBVPA) will host a ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Kelly Park, 750 Howard St., at 6 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 13).
Led by students from the University of Notre Dame Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) along with community members Lu Ella Webster and Beth Sanford, SBVPA renovated the 1-acre park over five years with support from dozens of volunteers and corporate and community sponsors.
The renovated park, located four blocks south of Notre Dame in the Northeast Neighborhood, features all-new benches, sidewalks, landscaping, basketball courts, playground equipment, fencing and a picnic shelter.
The project dates to 2013, when RCLC students decided to improve the deteriorating park as part of Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods (EYEN), a collaboration between Neighborhood Resources Connection and Notre Dame faculty that seeks to involve youth in community change.
Working with Webster, adult programs coordinator for the RCLC, and Sanford, a local architect, the students secured a $1,000 EYEN grant for the project and worked with local architects to develop a master plan for the park. They also sold commemorative bricks and benches to help finance the project.
In addition to Webster and Sanford, several city and community leaders will be on hand for the ribbon cutting, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, SBVPA Executive Director Aaron Perri and 4th District Councilwoman Jo Broden, who represents the Northeast Neighborhood on the South Bend Common Council.
“It’s been five years in the making, and to finally come to a point where we can say, phew, we did it, is so exciting,” said Webster, who lives across the street from the park.
“It’s really a fantastic example of what it means for a neighborhood to come together around their park,” Perri said, adding, “We’re going to celebrate this in a fashion that I think we’ve seldom celebrated a neighborhood park.”
For more information, visit the Kelly Park Renovation Project on Facebook.
Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, firstname.lastname@example.org