Downtown Meridian park cleanup effort

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Efforts to spruce up parks in Meridian are continuing. Just last week new playground equipment was added at James Chaney Park, and Thursday morning volunteers and city workers came together to clean another park, which is historic in its own way.

Located in the Urban Center Historic District of Meridian, almost two dozen people turned out Thursday morning to clean Monument Park in downtown.

"We do this because we like to because we like to be citizens in the community where we live and work," says Joe Schifano, who is an Engineering Supervisor at Mississippi Power. He is also one of almost a half dozen volunteers from the company's Meridian Community Connection Chapter who offered a helping hand.

"Mississippi Power chose this site for a number of reasons," says Mayor Percy Bland. "Number one because of the Civil Rights Trail, and number two because it is Black History Month, and we're just proud to work with Mississippi Power on endeavors like this."

Aside from city workers, members of the local Minority Business Alliance also joined in the effort. City leaders says this work is just one more step in a grand plan to address needs at local parks.

"Our next park is going to be Highland Park," says City of Meridian Parks and Recreation Director, Kevin McGruder. "You saw where we did the James Chaney playground. Highland Park doesn't need a new playground. It just needs an updated playground. We need some more mulch and things for children with disabilities to play on. So, that's going to be our next project."

McGruder says work at Highland Park will likely start sometime during the month of May, and not take more than two days to finish.

As for Monument Park, it's located on 23rd Avenue in downtown. It opened in 2011 following a two year community effort that was spearheaded by the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation's Image Committee.