On October 4, 2005, C2C had its first official neighborhood event in Jefferson Park--a neighborhood dinner in the area of West Maple Street. Initial concerns addressed drug activity, speeding, and the perceived deterioration of the park itself to vagrancy, loitering, and drug use. The neighbors' objective to revitalize Jefferson Park with the installation of new playground equipment, created a stronger neighborhood vision. The success, within nine months of planning, attests to their drive and initiative, as well as the strong support and participation of the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, the Walla Walla Police Department, and other city staff. It also confirms the importance of projects and neighborhood relationship benefits in building neighborhood participation.
In the summer of 2009, neighbors and C2C completed installation of the Life Trail System, a network of exercise kiosks beginning at the Senior Center and continuing along the Garrison Middle School Track. The exercise equipment is another phase of renovation to further enhance the positive atmosphere of Jefferson Park. In collaboration with the City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, the Senior Center, Garrison Middle School, Walla Walla County Fairgrounds, area neighbors, and community volunteers, the exercise equipment was successfully installed.
Due to speeding concerns, Chestnut & Chase crosswalk was sponsored by the City of Walla Walla, the Walla Walla Public School District, and Commitment to Community and dedicated in March 2009. In the fall of 2009, neighbors volunteered to stand at the crosswalks during the first weeks of school. Neighbors' presence sent a visible message to drivers to respect the safety of children walking to and from school.
Seven Home Improvement Projects
In August 2008, residents of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood were invited to apply for mini grants for the purpose of continuing improvements that would be beneficial to all residents in the area. Seven families participated in the Home Improvement Program. All improvements had to enhance the property and be visible to the general public. Benefits ranged from general appearance to increase of surrounding property values.
In the summer of 2007, after months of conversation, and almost a year of planning and fundraising, neighborhood residents along with many community volunteers built new playground equipment at Jefferson Park. Park renovation became a focal point for neighbors throughout the discussions in months prior. Neighbors saw the park as an epicenter of negative activity such as drug use and vagrancy. In order to change the park from a negative to a positive public space, neighbors sought to renovate the space into a great place for families to picnic and play. This park was made possible by Sherwood Trust , City of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department, and neighborhood residents, changing the face of Jefferson Park forever.