Good community turnout for Murray Hill Park clean-up day

Good community turnout for Murray Hill Park clean-up day
Jimmy Peluso, Adam Dooling, Lacy Lafferty, Emma Billings and Jennifer King give one of the concession stands a good cleaning on Sept. 15.
Sunny Gettinger and Rheiana Ertman picked up litter and other debris around the park.

Sunny Gettinger and Rheiana Ertman picked up
litter and other debris around the park.

Neighborhoods are joining hands to help put Murray Hill Park back in good shape for the next baseball season. A community clean-up day held Sept. 15 at the park and ballfields on Kingsbury Street in Murray Hill saw 32 residents from the neighborhood as well as Riverside and Avondale come out to clean up trash, weed around the dugouts and batting cages and get a start on cleaning the two concession stands.

“We deep cleaned the concession stand at the back of the park, and were hoping to paint it, too, but the cleaning took up more time than we anticipated,” said Jose “Junior” Lazcano, who organized the clean-up day. “The front concession was not cleaned but it is on our list of things to do, once we get that back stand up and running.”

Lazcano said the goal for the Oct. 13 clean-up day is to clean the restrooms near the back concession stand and paint the stand. “Murray Hill Athletic Association is losing a lot of money with that stand being down,” he said. Lazcano was very pleased with the turnout, from youngsters to seniors who gave a few hours on a hot Saturday morning to benefit the rest of the community.

A contribution of another kind was also recently made for the park’s ballfields.

After the storm seasons the last two years took a toll on both the wood and the aluminum bleachers, it came to the attention of Riverside Presbyterian Church that the Murray Hill Athletic Association could use some help. 

“It has been difficult to hold RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) without a main bleacher section that had been removed,” said Jan Carr, an administrative assistant at the church.  “We held a fundraiser that raised $4,000 to go towards a new bleacher set.”

Josh Cook, president of MHAA, had been looking for a new set of bleachers but the one he had in mind fell through. He spoke to Keith Meyerl, chief of recreation and community services for the City of Jacksonville, who said if Cook wanted grandstand bleachers higher than three tiers, they needed to adhere to ADA standards.

Lazcano said bleachers of that size would cost at least twice the amount donated and is hoping other donors will come forward to help match Riverside Presbyterian’s generous gift.

“It was such a nice donation and we are very grateful, but unfortunately it is not enough. I’m hoping we can raise the funds to purchase a good, sturdy set of bleachers so the church can see we used their money for exactly what it was intended for…and it will be,” he said. 

According to Tia Ford, City spokesperson, the Parks and Recreation Department indicated they are willing to assist with the cost of bleachers at the park, and would use Capital Improvement Project funding.

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