Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beckett Playground

Beckett Playground is 1 of 108 city parks, making up 3.34 acres of the total 2,956 acres of dedicated park ground in St. Louis.

The park has been around since 1959 and is in the historic Lewis Place neighborhood.  The park is nearest the intersection of Page Boulevard and North Taylor Avenue right in the shadow of Ranken Technical College.


Ranken is a positive presence in the neighborhood and sits just southeast of the park.

I would love to see Ranken partner with the city to help beautify the park...building some new benches, pavilions, etc would be a great partnership for both Lewis Place and the College.  Ranken boasts a top notch fabrication and welding school...why not take the students out for some "field work"  and show the community what skilled craftsmanship can bring...The need is certainly there.  I wonder if the alderman in the area has ever thought of this?


The park website boasts picnic grounds, pavilions, basketball courts and softball fields.  This is true, but the softball field is underwater and needs to be graded and dragged to remove weeds.  The park's dept (who just embezzled ~$0.5M from  the taxpayers) should take responsibility here.  If, IF, the neighbors demand it.  If they either don't care or don't want softball, then the resources could go to folks and parks that have people caring for them.



When I was heading toward the park on Page I could smell chicken on the grill, the smell got stronger and better as I approached Newstead.  Turns out, I got lucky, because there was a big event in the park...called Praise In The Park hosted by the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church at 4570 Page Blvd.


Of course, I was welcomed by the large group of parishioners and others.  I was offered chicken, hamburgers, chips, etc.


The gospel music sounded sweet and old school and it was a positive vibe.  People love their city and this was no exception. I just love meeting all these folks and hearing their stories.  Sometime hilarious, sometimes sad...today just simply positive and nice...welcoming.

Anyhow, there is a really cool mod looking bathroom/pavilion set up.



There are new trash cans located all over the park...therefore you can imagine it was very clean.  People want to use trash cans, they just don't exist in many parks.  Beckett was a clear exception.



The water fountains work, but the spray pool/fountain (becoming a common sighting in No. City parks) was inoperable.



The basketball courts are in EXCELLENT condition (complete with nets) and were heavily in use during my visit.



The playground equipment was in excellent shape too.



Sadly, many if not all the homes lining the park have fallen into severe disrepair.  There is not an overwhelming sense of residential pride or cleanliness evident from the street.  It's just kind of falling down.  And in fact, many of the homes and business properties have been demo'd since I was here in 2010 doing my Lewis Place photos and write up.

Beckett Playground could be even stronger than it is with the help of Ranken to take it under its wing.

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