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Annual OWN picnic raises nearly $600 for Bancroft Park; over 200 attendees

       An estimated 200 people or more flocked to the annual Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic June 25 in Bancroft Park.

Giant bubbles added to the fun at the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic June 25 in Bancroft Park. The play feature was offered free for the event by the Millibo Art Theatre.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Promoted as a fundraiser for park improvements, the event raised nearly $600 toward that cause, according to OWN President Jim Thompson. “The event was our best to date,” he enthused. “It was a great community turnout.”
       With live music from the Jupe and The Gemini band, the two-hour-plus affair offered grilled brats and a variety of side dishes, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages. The weather cooperated with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.
       Also set up were booths promoting various citizen services, including the Westside Community Center, Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak Library District and City Police.
       The picnic money for the park was raised from attendees' $5-per-family donations. This is the first year people have been asked to pay at the picnic.
       The Bancroft bandshell was charred by a January fire. Repairs through City Parks are under way. (See article, Page 7.)
       A city-recognized advocate for the older Westside, OWN has been holding the picnic since the 1990s. OWN was aided by Colorado Springs block grant money until 2014, when such funds got diverted to the city's homeless outreach program.
       At this year's picnic, OWN also fundraised just over $500 for itself, selling raffle tickets for roughly $2,400 worth of goods and services donated by local businesses, according to Thompson.
       OWN plans to give the money raised for the park from the picnic to the Old Colorado City Foundation, which has previously raised about $30,000 for park upgrades.
       Among the event attendees were City Councilmembers Tom Strand and Bill Murray, both of whom had joined council's unanimous bandshell-repair allocation vote in March.
       Cooking up the picnic bratwursts was Welling Clark, who had served as OWN president for 11 years (stepping down this spring to start a new umbrella-type advocacy group, the Alliance for the Historic Westside).
       The OWN picnic had been held in Bancroft consistently until 2010, moving to the Westside Community Center for the past six years, and typically drawing between 100 and 150 attendees. The OWN board chose Bancroft for this year's location to show community support after the fire.

Westside Pioneer article