According to Wilk, research shows “the importance of parks and green space” in reducing violence in neighborhoods and the household.
“So many people locally have come together to make this project a success,” she said. “And, while it is still far from completed, neighbors whose backyard is the park have commented that more and more families are using the park.”
In April of this year, the park equipment received a fresh coat of paint, and on Thursday the request to transfer unused playground equipment was approved and moved from its home on Ind. 18 to Barnes Park, located at South Grove and D streets
Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of prevention initiatives for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, presented in the webinar as well. Similar to Wilk, Yeakle’s said their efforts are to work at the community level and focus on establishing safe, stable, nurturing environments.
These aspects are not only important in youth development, but for the rest of our lives, according to Yeakle.
Wilk, with the help of many members of the community, said creating change is simple. She said the best way neighbors can help is by getting to know one another and taking personal responsibility for their streets.
“It might be as simple as taking time a couple nights a week to walk your neighborhood and the space you call home,” Wilk said. “It increases social cohesion, which reduces the risk factor of isolation.”
The park is an acre in size, with an open field for sports like soccer or ultimate frisbee, with monkey bars, slides, swing sets, grills and a sheltered picnic area. Soon-to-be-installed is a large jungle gym and other playground equipment.
In the future, Wilk wants to add vegetation to create a natural barrier near the street and create opportunities for artists to paint the large fence that shares a border with the park. Her goal is to have the park near completion before the end of fall.