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Last fall, the City of Thomasville begin an initiative to work with community leaders to re-imagine and revitalize neighborhood parks. After the success that was achieved with public input for MacIntyre Park, City officials are now concentrating efforts for 2017 on two additional public parks. Francis Weston Park will be first up, and a closer look is now underway to discover how the existing park can be reshaped to better meet the needs and desires of the community.

“We began working with the Dewey City neighborhood leaders and the Douglass High School Alumni Association several weeks ago to learn how the park is being utilized in its current state,” said Brian Herrmann, City Planner. “What we’ve discovered is that Weston Park is highly valued by the neighborhood and is used quite frequently,” he said. “We hope to work together with current park users to brainstorm ideas for how we can make the existing park and its features even better for the community.”

The planning process for Weston Park took another step forward when City leaders met with neighborhood residents in March to walk the park and talk through how the park was being used and where there were opportunities to better utilize the space available in the park.

“What we discovered through spending a morning together in Weston Park is that the park is very much loved by the neighborhood,” said Herrmann. “They hold family reunions and church outings here. They hold kickball tournaments and baseball games. One issue that seemed to bubble up to the surface is that the park is used so often that parking becomes a concern. This is certainly something we can address in any sort of redesign that we propose.”

Herrmann said it is conversations such as the ones shared during the park walk-through that will spark ideas for how something that is already valued by the community can be made even better. Ernest Nixon, a resident in the neighborhood, agrees.

“It is exciting to work together with the City of Thomasville to make Weston Park a better place for our neighborhood to enjoy,” said Nixon. “We have been meeting with City staff for a few weeks to plan this improvement process, and I hope that it is well attended so that we capture the ideas from all age groups.”

Community members will have an opportunity to add their ideas to the park wish list in a series of open house sessions to be held April 23-25, 2017. “We’ll start on Sunday afternoon with a session for community input and continue through Monday until we reveal the final design concept on Tuesday evening,” said Herrmann.

Park users will also have an opportunity to share their ideas through visual display boards that will be in various locations throughout April. “This will give the community an opportunity to provide some input into various design elements, which will later be used in the final design.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing the final design come together,” said Nixon. “It is exciting to see how our voice can help shape the future of our park.”