In spite of the politics that have divided Macks Creek, the residents of this small town still manage to come together in hopes of keeping their dream of a community park alive.
Although the future of the 8-acre park is uncertain, there is no lack of support. The park is currently listed as an asset in the dissolution of Macks Creek but is also tied up in a grant that restricts what the property can be used for. The group spearheading the efforts to maintain and improve the park are hoping to partner with others to ensure the project is completed.
Community members have formed a park board and are offically Macks Creek Community Park LLC. They have no promises from any of the government entities that are discussing the future ownership. Their goal is to put "back the word UNITY in community."
"In years past, a grant was received for the park which made it so that it could never be sold and that it would forever be a park available to all in the community. When the city dissolved, Camden County took possession of the park. No one knew the exact fate of the park as they are in new territory with the change in ownership combined with the specifications for the grant," according to Leslie Chamberlin, who is working the park preservation committee. "The group of citizens has forged forward and are not waiting for government entities to make decisions. The park's purpose is to be a gathering place for the people of the community and those people are stepping up and making that happen."
The park is located on Upper Prairie Hollow Road off of State Road N close to the intersection of Highway 54 and State Road N. The former city had plans for the park but ran into financial problems, forcing then city officials to put aside any plans for improvements. The park was also the target of vandalism.
Although residents voted to dissolve the city of Macks Creek in August, Chamberlin said there has been an ongoing effort to develop the park and preserve it as a community gathering place.
Throughout August and September, the group has had park clean up days where as many as 25 people came together and helped out the maintenance effort.
Chamberlin said volunteers have been able to clean up much of the mess.
This past weekend the park group sponsored the first annual Picnic at the Park. The attendance was overwhelming Chamberlin said. There were families with kids everywhere. Hayrides, food and entertainment created a festival atmosphere that was exactly
what the park group was hoping for, according to Chamberlin.
It is the hard work and determination of the volunteers that is making a difference, she said. Soon, Chamberlin said she hopes the future of the park is settled but until then, work will continue.
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To get involved:
Southwest Fire Protection District headquarters