It’s time to make a difference in Richmond.
In what could be the most jam-packed day of fun and community building, hundreds of volunteers are expected to turn out Saturday to assist in the significant renovation of John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the whole community has been invited to help turn the aging, underutilized 7-acre park at Cutting Boulevard and 41st Street into a neighborhood gem. The event coincides with national Make a Difference Day, and 50 trees will be planted at the park in celebration of Arbor Day.
More than 400 community members helped craft the park’s design, which includes a new children’s play area, a fitness zone (outdoor gym), bike skills park, a 1/4-mile, nine-station walking loop, Victory garden and a 5,000-square-foot mural in the event plaza.
Next week, construction is set to begin on the Chevron STEM Learning Center and Community Plaza (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
In May, park renovations got a head start when TLC for Kids Sports and OC Jones and Sons volunteered to renovate the ballfield. Funds are still being raised to re-do the basketball courts.
The renovation of the rest of the park, which was built in 1968, has been a partnership between the City of Richmond and The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit that creates parks and conserves open spaces to promote access to healthy lifestyles. The nonprofit says it held several community workshops to ensure a design at JFK Park that will attract neighbors of all ages.
Don’t expect Saturday to be all work and no play. The event is doubling as Richmond’s stop for “The 50 Tour: Champions of the Bay” presented by Chevron from noon – 5 pm. The tour, which is connected to the upcoming Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, will feature eight Lombardi trophies won by the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, and will include a guest appearance by a former NFL great.
And right after the park rebuild from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the community is invited to walk across Cutting Boulevard to visit the Richmond Swim Center, which is having a grand re-opening after being closed since April 2014 for significant renovations. Don’t bring your swim trunks, however, as the event is only to showcase the facility and swimming won’t be allowed.