Saturday, August 4 provided a full day of activities for the Beardsley Park and Bristol Park residents at Human Kinetics, including a concert finale by local musician Mico Wave. Unfortunately, the area was under a heat advisory and this may have been a factor in the lower than anticipated attendance. However, great workshops, food, prizes and outdoor activities were enjoyed by 25 residents of Bristol and Beardsley Park while an additional five households attended the workshops by invitation (required for their City home repair program). Approximately 40 volunteers comprised of the Bristol Park Neighborhood Steering Committee, Unit 4 Schools, Champaign Park District, neighborhood stakeholders and City staff from the Neighborhood Services, Planning, Police and the Fire Department also assisted in this event.
The Bristol Park Neighborhood Steering Committee worked to obtain 19 sponsorships for raffle items, facilities, booklet printing, and materials for the garden planters. The Steering Committee designed and built several garden planters that were part of the outdoor display at Human Kinetics and later were distributed to the workshop attendees as a way to signify the beginning of the transformation in the neighborhood.
The three workshops tracks were: Stair Steps to Building Your Wealth, Tenant/Homebuyer Education, and Home Maintenance. The classes were taught by a variety of community leaders in addition to City staff: Community Development Specialist Greg Skaggs, Rehabilitation Technicians Susan Jones and Joe Lewis, Code Compliance Manager David Oliver and Code Compliance Inspector Cliff Peete. All classes were held inside the Human Kinetics facility in the Garwood Area Addition (a part of the Bristol Park plan area). Free credit reports were also provided to interested participants and credit counselors and lenders were available to meet with residents regarding their report. Information was also collected in three surveys to identify lending needs of the residents, topics for future workshops and interest in a community garden. The Hip Hop Express also provided music and entertainment prior to the Mico Wave concert in the afternoon.
The Bristol Park Neighborhood subcommittee will debrief in the next few weeks and begin planning the next neighborhood event, which is planned for October and will be an outdoor event.