Holland Park ‘mini-fest’ puts focus on oft-overlooked Jackson Park
Neighborhood group hopes event will help attract supporters
Close to 100 people enjoyed a concert by one-man blues band John-Alex Mason on a sunny evening in Jackson Park Sept. 6.
But love of music wasn't the only reason that Holland Park Community Association (HPCA) members organized the free mini-festival. The neighborhood advocacy group hoped the two-hour experience would get people thinking about the possibilities for 9.7-acre Jackson Park - the 25th largest in the city - and perhaps join improvement efforts.
Because the park has no electricity, Mason's amplifier was powered by an extension cord leading to a duplex along Darby Street. Adults sitting in portable chairs near the "stage" (actually a borrowed motorcycle trailer) listened to the music, ate picnic dinners and chatted with their neighbors. Meanwhile, children played sports, painted each other's faces, ate free ice cream from the HPCA or just ran around on the park's large expanse of grass.
Other than an advance article about the event in the Westside Pioneer, the only publicity came from word of mouth and sandwich boards that association members placed around the roughly 1,500-household area south of Garden of the Gods Road and west of I-25.
"It's just a little neighborhood thing," HPCA President Philip McGrath said. "I've talked to people who came to the park tonight and said, 'I didn't know this was here.'"
A one-page questionnaire that HPCA members handed out during the mini-fest asked for feedback about residents' interests and concerns - regarding the park as well as general issues such as traffic and crime and future neighborhood activities. McGrath was pleased to see that several of the questionnaires had already been returned before the end of the event.
The city's unofficial 2009 budget calls for $4,500 in upgrades to the park, but the HPCA hope is that eventually Jackson could be augmented with more amenities, including a covered picnic pavilion, lighted tennis courts, bleachers, lighting at the baseball diamond and more picnic tables and benches.
Westside Pioneer article