Renovated Minnie Barr Park opens in northeast Jacksonville

  • The newly renovated Minnie Barr Park has a plaque thanking the sponsors for all the efforts given to revitalize the park.
  • Many local volunteers helped build and restore playground equipment at Minnie Barr Park, located on West Walnut Street.
  • Lori Hartz, director of community health for Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, opens with a dedication of the renovated park.
  • Dr. Scott Boston, president and CEO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, completes the dedication by thanking all of the many sponsors and volunteers that dedicated their time and money toward this project.
  • Some of the local sponsors and volunteers included (front row, from left) Cathy Jo Littleton-Wahl, Jacksonville Rotary Club; Ann Baker, Jacksonville Children’s Foundation; Claire Peak, Erika Procarione and Lori Hartz, Jacksonville Memorial Hospital Healthy Jacksonville; Dr. Scott Boston, president and CEO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital; Alberta Morgan, Jacksonville Rotary Club and NAACP; Polly Williams, NAACP; Leanna Wynn, CNO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital; Regina Williams, NAACP; and John Ourth, Dot Foods. Also included are (back row, from left) Anne Becker, Jay Jamison and Jane Becker, Sunrise Rotary; Jake Price, Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville; Lynne Sheaff, Jacksonville Rotary Club; Adam Fletcher, City of Jacksonville Parks manager; Kevin Eckhoff, coordinator of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital-Gatorade 5K/10K Race; Trevor Huffman, Jacksonville Memorial Hospital; and John Sutor and Aaron Weinman, Dot Foods.

Submitted to The Source
Photos by Sue Lambie

Two years after securing the first grant to rejuvenate half-century-old Minnie Barr Park, representatives of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital and its partners in the renovation formally dedicated the space on Monday, May 23.

“It has been an extraordinary community project with significant financial support and volunteer hours,” said Lori Hartz, director of community health for Jacksonville Memorial Hospital.

Since the project’s beginning in 2019, organizers have raised more than $115,500. Scores of volunteers have dedicated time to install and restore playground equipment and provide an expanded sports court. In addition, landscaping, new fencing and security lighting make for a safe space for families to enjoy.

“I love that it’s not been just one group of people — it’s been our whole community — doing this work to make Minnie Barr Park a better place for everyone,” said Polly Pulley, community leader and director of the Spirit of Faith Soup Kitchen.

Pulley adds, “It’s been wonderful to see cars over at the park and families cooking out and children playing on the equipment. It’s been a blessing.”

Local sponsors of the Minnie Barr Park revitalization project include The Tracy Family Foundation, City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Rotary Club and Rotary District 6460, Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, Passavant 5K and 10K races, Jacksonville Children’s Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville, Sunrise Rotary, Amvets, Aldi and Ameren Illinois.

“Playgrounds are vital resources because having that open-air, green space helps strengthen our kids physically, mentally, socially and emotionally,” said Hartz.

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