ICYMI: Take a look at South Side in Bloom

Editor's note: This is a photo gallery accompanying a series of articles - People, Parks & Power - that dives into the commitment of local people working to make long-term, systemic changes to positively affect greenspaces and - in turn - the overall health and well-being of Springfield's Southside and beyond.

The second annual South Side in Bloom event recently showcased a variety of parks, gardens and other green spaces in Springfield's Southside.

The goal was to introduce even more Clark County residents to what the Southside offers, as well as to welcome back those who know of its beauty and renewal.

The free tour highlighted 10 locations to visit - many of which show how vacant, abandoned and underused land have turned into something beautiful and productive, says Steve Schlather, the tour’s coordinator.

“We need to keep showing people there are good things happening,” he says.

Many stops will included their own special activities, such as tours, fresh vegetables, gardening lessons, music and children’s activities.

Altogether, the event shows that Southside residents “are taking matters into their own hands and improving their area,” Schlather says. 

The Conscious Connect CDC was one of the sponsors of the event and has been advocating for more local green space for years. It was awarded a national People, Parks, and Power (P3) grant – $500,000 over two years – to promote park equity, with a focus on Springfield’s Southside.

P3 survey is gathering information from Southside residents and visitors about park accessibility, programming, amenities and safety. Surveys can be completed at 1615 Woodward Ave. 

South Side in Bloom’s tour of gardens and parks helps to highlight the mission, too.

“Residents will have a chance to share their vision for improving green spaces in the community,” says Destinye Arnold, project manager for The Conscious Connect CDC and leader of the P3 effort. “My hope is that residents walk away with a refreshed idea about what their community can become.”
The tour also is built to alter visitors’ views of an area of the city they may know little about.

“I hope this can change or provide a different narrative to people about what it means to live on the Southside,” says Kali Lawrence, executive director of Springfield Promise Neighborhood. The organization also is part of the Unified Collective, a group of local organizations that is working together to revitalize Springfield’s Southside in many ways.
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Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.