The Willis C. Winters Park soccer field is undergoing a $250,000 renovation project.
Barbara Cohen and the Friends of Willis Winters Park have been working for at least 2020 to have the land regraded and leveled.
After obtaining the necessary donations to finance the project, negotiations with the City began. Donors wanted to ensure that the field would be properly used and maintained. For example, no one will be able to play on the pitch when it is raining, and there will also be rules prohibiting setting up chairs and awnings there.
It will only be used for football, and Cohen says she hopes community members as well as school teams will take advantage of it.
“It’s been so positive for our community,” says Cohen, the group of friends’ president.
For Cohen, this is a great example of collaboration between residents and the City, and it’s one more step in improving the park for the neighborhood. In January, city staff removed more than 300 feet of chain-link fencing from the park. The group of friends also organizes regular volunteer days to pick up trash, maintain the pollinator garden and do other tasks.
“We are not aiming for short-term goals. We look for long-term goals,” says Cohen.
Stripping, leveling and irrigation of the field should be completed around May. Next, teams will need to place the turf and give it enough time to grow. Cohen says they hope the field will be open by September or October, but that depends on how hot the summer is.
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