Parents, students advocating for improvements at MLK Jr. Park

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A group of local students and parents have formed a partnership in recent months to advocate for improvements to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at 1300 Virginia Ave. in Richmond.

“Right now the park has a great track and field, but the playground is decaying and is being used for homeless folks to sleep and drug users to get high,” according to the students and parents from Nystrom Elementary and Richmond College Prep who recently formed the Nystrom Catchment Family Engagement team.

The group has met with the city and local neighborhood council on its desire to create change at the park, which it envisions becoming like Belding Garcia Park or Pogo Park’s Elm Play Lot, where activities, events, programs and summer lunches are offered to local families.

Members of the group spoke out at the March 6 Richmond city council meeting, praising a grant-funded Fitness Zone that’s slated to be built at MLK Park but also advocating for more improvements, particularly to the playground.

“It is our hope to be able to support and be planning partners with the city of Richmond to have MLK Park be the next park in the city get a makeover just like Kennedy Park’s makeover,” said Tana Monteiro, family and community engagement coordinator at Richmond College Prep.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 17, the Nystrom Catchment Family Engagement is set to hold the MLK Renovation Rally picnic at the park. The picnic will “celebrate and support upcoming makeover and upgrades” and welcomes all community members to join in the effort.

“MLK is getting transformed and we want to celebrate,” organizers state in a Facebook invite.

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