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Artist rendering of proposed New Albany park.

Artist rendering of proposed New Albany park.

NEW ALBANY, Miss. (Press Release) -– A piece of city-owned property in New Albany is being transformed into a new park by a group of citizens. The park, known as Pioneer Park, is being developed in the Church Street neighborhood at the intersection of Golden Gate and Apple Streets near B.F. Ford School

The park is the brainchild of James Simmons, a longtime resident who saw the need for a park that celebrates the neighborhood and people in it who’ve contributed to New Albany’s culture and society.

The vision for the park became real once James hired New Albany Landscape Architect Sam Creekmore to draw out a plan. Once the image was on paper, it was presented to the city who agreed to allow the sloping property to be used as a park. In the past six months, dead trees have been removed, volunteers and committee members have been appointed and earthwork has been started. As well, Simmons and the community group have been working with New Albany Marketing & Tourism on setting up a Facebook page, creating flyers and finding ways to fund the park.

“This part of our city is certainly a great asset to the community and we got to thinking about the younger kids and younger generation are going to forget the people ahead of them,” Mayor Tim Kent said of the project.

“”I’ve lived here all my life and I see the importance of this neighborhood and I just want to leave something for my grandkids and other kids to look up to,” added Simmons.

While the group is actively seeking grants, they have also begun selling commemorative bricks to be used in the construction of the park.

“Commemorative bricks are an enduring way to both help a project succeed while memorializing a family or institution or just leaving a positive message,” says Sean Johnson of New Albany Marketing & Tourism who is helping out with the project. “This is a way that donor’s children can bring their grandchildren to a place in a community and show them how their family has had a positive effect on a community by building a park…the bricks, as a method for funding and constructing memorials and places such as this are popular because they are so enduring.”

The park committee has a quickly growing Facebook page up at www.facebook.com/pioneerparkna and engraved bricks can be purchased at www.bricksrus.com/pmempark.

You also can email organizers at pioneersmemorialpark@gmail.com.

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