A dozen kids raced up and down the pavement playing basketball while more kids looked on thanks to two new nets put up in Wonderwoods Park in Chatham.
For Karen Bondy, co-chair of the Chatham Central Neighbourhood Association, there really isn’t a better sight. The CCNA raised the funds for the nets courtesy of a quarter auction and the municipality installed them, all part of the group’s mandate to revitalize and beautify the area where they live.
In its second year of operation, the CCNA is a group of local citizens in central Chatham – Cross Street to Edgar Street and Queen Street to Inshes Avenue – who have been hard at work making their neighbourhood great again, one project at a time.
Wednesday afternoon, the group help a BBQ and information night to dedicate the newly installed hoops, which had been absent from the park for decades.
“We are thrilled to return the basketball nets to our park, because it gives the youth and adults of our area something more to do,” Bondy said. “A lot of kids were playing on the streets and now they’re here, meeting their friends and socializing.”
Bondy said the municipality has been great and the project wouldn’t have been possible without the C-K recreation department.
“We have a lot of great community leaders and if we need anything, they are right there to help out,” Bondy added.
For the fall, the CCNA is gearing up for a fun neighbourhood scavenger hunt, and are working on plans for community urban garden at Francis Moore Park with raised beds. Bondy said they hope to have the beds in place this fall and ready for planting in the spring.
“We also have plans to beautify the front of the park with planting. We want to make it an aesthetically pleasing park,” she noted.
The membership currently is 15 people with plenty of residents in the area stepping up to volunteer when needed, Bondy said. With more information being shared on social media and the group continuing to gather e-mail addresses, she said interest in helping the community be great again is growing.
“There are some really good people in this neighbourhood,” Bondy explained. “If we continue to beautify and build it up, more people will have a sense of pride and it will snowball from there.”
Jyl Panjer, a group member and organizer of the Little Free Library at 195 West St., had a display of excess books for taking or exchange at the dedication. The library is free to anyone who would like to take a book and leave a book, and she said she has had people drop off boxes of books. The library is for all ages and Panjer said everyone is welcome.
Cooking up hotdogs at the dedication was community member Doug Robbins and the group thanked Schinkels’, Bread Depot and Sobeys for helping out.