Thank you for your interest in our North Side community (“The Fences Between,” Cover Story, Feb. 3). Your article seemed to focus on divisions and tensions, and while we are well aware of these challenges, we are also committed to working together through them in a climate of respect and desire for understanding as we, and other similar groups and coalitions, commit to building our community.
One of our most recent initiatives, the Friends of Battery Park, arose in response to the flooding which made the park itself inaccessible to the neighborhood for two years, and a desire to develop a unified voice to advocate for its reopening and a vision of Battery Park to serve as a community living room to beautify, grow and enrich the entire community.
In partnership with other groups including the city parks workers, Southern Barton Heights and Battery Park civic associations, the Men of Barton Heights and Men of Barton Heights Youth Organization, the Northside Reunion, Hands on Greater Richmond, Altria, the Richmond Recreation and Parks Foundation, Richmond Tree Stewards, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Richmond Red Cross, Partnership for Families Northside, Radio One and WRIR, to name just a few, we have accomplished the following:
April: Park clean-up, landscaping around the Arthur Ashe marker, building two picnic table shelters, seeding of hillside near terrace and brush removal.
June: Grand reopening of Battery Park with ribbon cutting, children's and intergenerational activities, music and other live entertainment, living history presentation, as well as a basketball tournament and informational booths.
October: Formalized membership and a board of directors.
December: Planted seven trees.
January: Created a Facebook page, called Friends of Battery Park Richmond.
Our next event in the park will be in April to celebrate Earth Day. As Kim Hicks was quoted in your article as saying, “Perhaps the answer is simply getting to know each other.” The Friends of Battery Park is looking forward to the many opportunities our beautiful park presents, to just say hello and spend some time together having fun, learning something new, sharing food, games, work and music, in a community that is safe and fun for everyone.
We are delighted to present ourselves as friends, some 100 years after the neighborhoods began, as an example, a model even, of the future of this great country — diverse, peaceful, respectful, committed to preserving our beautiful earth, and most importantly, to the maintenance of a true community.
Ginnie Morrow, President
The Board of Directors of Friends of Battery Park