Kiwanis Methow Park project fostering community
The redevelopment of Kiwanis Methow Park is getting very close to becoming a reality, according to the folks with The Trust for Public Land. The Trust is more than 90 percent of the way to the goal of raising $3.4 million to renovate the park in a way that serves the needs of the South Wenatchee neighborhood.
It has been inspiring to watch this project unfold. The park has been designed and developed in collaboration with the neighbors in South Wenatchee and others from throughout the community. It’ll be the first park in the valley I can think of to have been designed with deep involvement of users. While the Methow Park Project is completed, the Trust is working on a second community-designed park on 9th Street in East Wenatchee.
The South Wenatchee park is sorely in need of improvement. The area has until recently been neglected by the community. Everyone in the city should have access to a quality park that meets the needs of the neighborhood.
When this park is finished it will be another destination for the community and visitors to gather during the spring, summer and fall. That area could become our version of an International District.
The City of Wenatchee is heavily invested and supportive of the project as part of an effort to do a more effective job of fostering neighborhood resilience. Significant dollars have also come from the local fruit industry, local businesses and individuals who are anxious to see this community continue to evolve into a welcoming place for everyone who lives there.
Significant contributions have also come from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Trust for Public Land has done an amazing job of working with neighbors through local coordinators like Terry Valdez and the youthful Teresa Bendito to get input and advice on what types of features would be helpful at the park.
The neighbors turned out in increasing numbers over the last three years as this project has evolved.
Neighborhood involvement has been rather extraordinary, proving that when you take the time to do meaningful public engagement, folks will jump on board and get involved.
A perfect example of this is that more than 80 neighbors have committed to being Parque Padrinos, the sponsors or godparents of the park. Their commitment means getting involved with the programming of the park and being responsible for its long-term success. It’s a lifetime commitment.
When Teresa Bendito, her mother Teresa Zepeda and Liz Rivera first got the Padrinos project launched, only a dozen people were showing up to the meetings.
What’s been created in South Wenatchee is a deeper sense of belonging to this community.
This will not be a park just for Latinos, but it will have a strong Latin feel to it, with a central “kiosko” or pavilion for dancing, music and other performances.
A community is only as strong as the neighborhoods within it. When there is a sense of belonging, people will get engaged and participate. When they are disconnected, they’ll tend to not get involved or engaged.
It’s exciting to see the Wenatchee Valley taking steps to address and celebrate the cultural diversity that is growing in our valley. A tip of the hat to the Land Trust, the City of Wenatchee and all of the other organizations that are making this project a reality.