Block party aimed at reclaiming park
Groups want the event to help move Central Oak Park beyond an attack on a young girl.
By LORRIE LYKINS
Published August 6, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - Helping the neighborhood recover from the shocking attack in Central Oak Park last month is the goal of a citywide crime prevention block party set for Aug. 19.
"We want everyone to know that this is a safe park and a safe neighborhood," said Linda Phillips of the Central Oak Park Neighborhood Association.
Central Oak Park's Neighborhood Association and crime watch is hosting the block party in collaboration with several other neighborhood associations. It will run from 3 to 5 p.m. in Central Oak Park.
The primary purpose of the event is to move past last month's attack and rape of an 8-year-old girl playing at the park. Although a suspect was arrested, the neighborhood is still reeling.
"The attack that occurred can be the last thing people remember about the park or we can take it back for the kids, and that's what we want people to think of and remember," said Chris Kelly of the Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association.
"We need to pull together as a community and talk about the issue of crime in a creative fashion," Kelly said. "I read stories in the paper about things that are happening, and I say 'That's not the city I live in.' We need to find new ways of fighting crime."
Members of the 34th Street Federation, a crime watch collaboration comprised of various neighborhood associations, said they will follow the proceedings closely while the case moves through the judicial system. But for now, they are most concerned with healing the neighborhood.
"Since resolution and closure can be months or years away, we have called a citywide block party to pull numerous neighbors and groups together," said Ginger Brooks, Central Oak Park's crime watch coordinator.
Activities will include street bowling and sidewalk chalk art projects for children and a demonstration by police dogs. The group also plans a rededication ceremony to "give the park back to the kids," Kelly said.
Other Neighborhood Meetings and Events:
The Harris Park Neighborhood Association's Crime Watch will host a crime deterrence meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Vietnamese Alliance Church, 4344 21st St. N. The neighborhood's community police officer will attend. The purpose of the meeting is to create a dialogue between Harris Park residents and city departments to address crime-related issues. Harris Park is bounded by Interstate 275 and 16th Street N and Haines Road to 38th Avenue N. Neighboring areas are invited to attend.
The Palmetto Park Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at 2301 Third Ave. S. The community garden will be discussed; plots are still available. Interested residents of the neighborhood and new residents are welcome.
The Mel-Tan Heights Neighborhood Association will hold its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Wildwood Recreation Center, 1000 28th St. S.
The Live Oaks Neighborhood Association will hold a special traffic meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Luke's Church, 4444 Fifth Ave. N. The neighborhood's new proposed traffic plan will be on display.
Readers wishing to submit information for the Neighborhood Notebook can contact Lorrie Lykins by e-mail at SPTimeslistings@yahoo.com The deadline for items submitted for inclusion in the Sunday edition of Neighborhood Times is Wednesday.
[Last modified August 5, 2006, 20:12:20]
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