WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of Warren has a new outdoor space that is helping to spruce up a street once riddled with abandoned properties.
The Washington Street “pocket park” is located right next door to the Unity Garden on the corner of Washington Street and Mercer Street, which has been in operation for three years. The new space includes a giant chess board, reading nooks and smaller tables to play chess.
Organizers also are working on a horse shoe pit. A pocket park is the first-of-its-kind green space, designed for recreation.
The park has been nearly a year-and-a-half in the making, and is something the neighborhood is thrilled to have.
“This area is known for prostitution, high drug rate, things of that nature, so we are trying to change the landscape of this area,” Central City Neighborhood Association President Joan Sullivan said.
For the past 16 months, everyone around the neighborhood has known where they would find Sullivan.
“A lot of people watched her come in, day in, day out, sun up, sun down, and put her work in there,” resident Wateesa Ware said.
The Central City Neighborhood Association built the new park with the help of donations. In the future, it hopes to add a dog park and tennis and volleyball courts in other areas of the city.
“I know the hard work that she put in here. I just pray that someone keeps it up and continues to do stuff like this in other areas. I am actually happy for the change that happened right here,” Ware said.
Sullivan got the idea while she was travelling.
“If you can imagine it, you can create it,” she said.
Ware said she hopes Sullivan’s work will start a movement.
Both the park and neighboring community garden were once dilapidated old houses.
“The quicker the property gets put in productive use from a safety standpoint, you have fewer people staying around the property that would otherwise do the neighborhood harm,” Warren Safety and Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said.