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Fitness Grows in Helms Park

September 9, 2015 | Community News, Newark

mildred-helms-entrance-lg1Newark’s Mildred Helms Park is a jewel in the city, but in past years, some of its luster has been diminished by street crime and general neglect. The 3.3-acre park sits in the center of a residential area, providing a wooded, shady oasis; visitors enjoy a gazebo, playground equipment and walking trails.

Recognizing the need for a safe and healthy playground, the Trust for Public Land launched a revitalization effort for Mildred Helms Park about 10 years ago. Today, The Mildred Helms Resurrection Committee, comprising residents, organizers and volunteers, continues to restore the park to its former glory. While it’s not quite there yet, their effort has made significant progress, including new landscaping and street lights.

Courtney Price, project manager for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Newark (NJPHK-N) read about the revitalization and thought this could be an ideal location to house a family friendly “Fitness Zone,” for all ages to use. “The local community is invested in the revitalization effort. They want to make sure the park is secure and fun for their children,” said Price.

Price presented the Fitness Zone concept to the Committee which responded to NJPHK-N’s ideas, but wanted to “keep things simple,” Price explained. “There’s a large playground but the swings are missing, benches have been destroyed and the basketball backboard is a safety hazard.” For now, NJPHK-N will help the Committee fix what’s broken and then revisit the Fitness Zone at a later time. First on the agenda is to reinstall the swings and then focus on the basketball court. Price expects these items to be completed by the fall.

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