Eileen Kelley (3rd from right) accepting the award from Andie Gernon (far right, co-chair of Lakewood’s Promise) and Mary Dodsworth (getting the hug, Lakewood Parks and Recreation Director). Looking on are members of the Primley Park Home Owners Association.
Eileen Kelley and the Primley Park Home Owners Association have been “Caught in the Act of Keeping Lakewood’s Promise”.
In April 1924 GE and Kitty Primley gifted a small park “to the public forever.” It was a place young children played and families gathered. The children grew up and left and this .2 of an acre became entangled with blackberries, weeds and ivy. Concrete chunks, old tires and yard waste began to accumulate.
Five years ago a group of neighbors got together and formed the Primley Park Homeowners Association. Young families with children were once again moving into this established neighborhood and the group was committed to cleaning-up and developing at natural habitat park where families and toddlers could once again play.
Eileen Kelley, who has lives across from the park for the last 16 years and has spearheaded the revitalization, lauded Keep Lakewood Beautiful for initially contributing money for a professional landscape designer, Ed Chaffee, to provide his professional services. The city installed a water meter and the neighborhood association got started.
A commercial grade irrigation system was installed, a rockery area was built to eliminate road water run-off; two chipmunks (toddler bog toy) were set into place, native shrubs were planted; and today, after approximately 250 volunteers, over $26,000 invested (through fundraisers and donations), and 2000+ volunteer hours later, the dedication of Primley Park was on June 3.
Kelley related a recent occurrence, “A father and his three children came by on a Saturday and said, ‘We need something to do, what kind of work can we do in the park?’ The other day a mother with her infant, snuggled into a baby pack, were pulling weeds. The neighborhood has taken ownership and today we all know each other!”
Eileen Kelley and the Primley Park Home Owners Association are examples of Caring Adults providing Safe Places for families in Lakewood and receive the traveling Red Wagon, a symbol of Lakewood’s Promise of people pulling their weight to help the youth in Lakewood. Lakewood’s Promise mission is to mobilize people from every sector of life in Lakewood to build the character and competence of our youth by fulfilling these Five Promises:
- Caring Adults & Provide ongoing relationships with caring adults – parents, mentors, tutors and coaches
- Safe Places & Provide safe places with structured activities during non-school hours
- Healthy Start & Provide all the elements leading to good physical/mental health for a healthy future
- Marketable Skills & Provide marketable skills through effective education
- Opportunities to Serve & Provide youth with opportunities to serve in their community
Lakewood’s Community Collaboration, made up of over 100 human service organizations, service clubs, businesses, individuals and public entities presents each month a “Caught In The Act & of Keeping Lakewood’s Promise” Award to an individual or organization that has quietly performed an outstanding deed for a family/child in the City of Lakewood.