Several contributors met with C.A.R.E. Advisory Board member Orma Smith at the park Thursday to view playground equipment which needs replacement. Contributors included Markenna Edgeston, Heather Russell, and Beverly Gooch of We Are Corinth; Traci Johnson of United Way, and Will Luster Jr. and Billy Spence of Meigg Street Church of Christ.
Smith showed contributors the worn playground equipment and explained the plans for the playground and possible future revitalization, should the community meet or exceed the goal.
It was announced at a meeting Thursday, June 9, by Smith. The project will install a much-needed new playground at E.S. Bishop Park. The project’s estimated cost is $45,000 and the C.A.R.E. Foundation seeded the fundraising with a check for $15,000, which Smith had said was the “second single biggest check C.A.R.E.’s ever written.”
During the meeting, Smith gave the community a challenge to come up with $30,000 in 30 days to meet the cost of the playground.
We Are Corinth’s Edgeston said there are many who have a vision of what the playground means to the community — what E.S. Bishop Park could mean to the community’s children.
She began by explaining We Are Corinth is a group of people who live in Corinth, both individuals and organizations coming together.
“It’s people from Corinth, just saying ‘we are corinth and if things are going to happen, it’s because we are going to do it as a community. We will do it together.’ We just seek out things to do as a community that make a difference,” said Edgeston.
She said We Are Corinth began after two young men were murdered last year. It was decided that everyone needed to start doing things as a community.
“We started playing kickball in the summer. We played all last summer and we’re doing that this summer. We hung out here a lot at this park because it was basically abandoned and it was not being used.
“So, we hung out here and started having the dream of rebuilding and of this [park] becoming a source for life again like it used to be. It used to have softball games going on, and the playground was new at one point, and the basketball courts were being used and we started dreaming of things getting better. Then CARE got involved and said they wanted to help as well,” said Edgeston.
Luster and Spence agreed. It was why they, representing Meigg Street Church of Christ, wanted to help.
“We need to the community cleaned if we’re going to have a good church. The church is a part of our community. I know when I was growing up, people would always tell you to go to other places, but didn’t prepare an official place for you to go. We need to get the kids off the street in a safe place. I think this is something that needs to be done,” said Luster.
“I appreciate the cleanup around here, which we need, especially for our youngsters to have a place to hang out and have a good time with all the stuff that’s going on,” said Spence.
Edgeston quoted Orma Smith’s statement during the original meeting three weeks ago.
“People should give to the project because, like Orma said, ‘It’s the right thing to do.’ To rebuild and give our kids something safe ... this is a neighborhood park and it’s convenient for kids to come here. They can walk here. It can give them a place to go — a safe haven for some positive recreation,” she said.
Even after Smith left Thursday’s meeting at the park, people stood around and talked about the project and about hopes for the future. Representatives from other churches came by and contributed such as Daniel and Ginger Jones from Tate Baptist Church, Ray McClellan of Macedonia M.B. Church and representatives of St. Mark Baptist Church, which was the home church of late E.S. Bishop, the man for whom the park is named.
There is hope the contributions will keep coming. There is hope that maybe they will even exceed their goal and plan further renovations.
To date, now at Week 3 of the challenge, the community has shown an overwhelming response raising $24,300 of the $30,000.
There is now one week left to raise the remaining $5,700.
(Donations to the C.A.R.E. Playground Project at E.S. Bishop Park can be mailed to: Corinth-Alcorn Reaching for Excellence, P.O. Box 239, Corinth, MS 38835. Please make checks payable to C.A.R.E. Please see future editions of the Daily Corinthian for fundraising updates.)