Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hamilton Heights Park

Hamilton Heights Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  The city website does not have a location listed for the park, and it is not recognizable on google maps, etc.  There is no way to find this park unless you really dig.  The park doesn't even have the typical wood and white lettering park sign to identify it.  In fact, the only signage is at the playground which is dedicated to Margo Anderson.  You can read about her at the end of the post.

An anonymous person reached out to me to tell me that the park is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Clara Avenue in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood:


Unity Park is another park that is impossible to find online.  If anyone knows where it is, let me know.

This park is in an improving area just south of some really, really nice urban new construction just east on MLK Drive called Arlington Grove.  This is a great example of urban infill that is sensitive to its surroundings.




Let's hope Arlington Grove can serve as an impetus for the area and the park in general.  Today, the park is a bit rough around the edges and could use some landscaping, etc to make it more inviting.

Other newish homes have been constructed just east of the park.


The park is made up of a playground and a Cardinals Care Baseball Field, divided by an alley, which is open to traffic making it a bit awkward for a kids-oriented park.

The bright spot is the Cardinals Care Field just south of the playground, this one is in quite good condition and has an awesome scoreboard in right field.





In these current time, baseball isn't a sport that kids just get together and play like they did years ago a la the Sandlot.


I would love to see an organized youth league that recruits kids to play ball in a league that pits the various neighborhoods against each other.  The "home-field" would be the Cardinals Care fields throughout the city.  Each team would be regional based and sponsored.  Kids love baseball, they just need adults to bring the equipment and organize it.  Basketball is the "pickup game" of choice these days.  I'd like to see Cardinals Care and the city Park's Dept. organize and sponsor such a league.

This would help on many fronts:  give kids something to do, open up baseball to the newest generation, get some much needed maintenance of the Cards Care fields, help establish neighborhood identity and pride, get like minded kids together for bonding/friendship and encouragement to walk/ride bikes to the fields for pick up game.  Each team could identify with an MLB team logo to make it cool for the kids.  It would bring parents together from different parts of the city that don't interact in the CYC or other leagues.

I just love the game of baseball and these fields are really great, but they are never used.  Imagine Hamilton Heights going up against Fox Park.  I can get behind that and envision lawn chairs filled with parents, friends and grill outs, etc on game day.  Each neighborhood could try to out-do the other to make the best game day scenes.  I can dream, right?  In a city that is supposed to be "baseball heaven", kids are not playing pickup ball ANYWHERE in the city in numbers that are noticeable.  We could change that.

The playground is in good physical shape, but really needs some trash cans as there is quite a bit of litter strewn about by the adults who like to drink and eat junk food and trash the park that they are in.  See the pictures below if you think I'm exaggerating.



As you can see in the sign, the playground is dedicated to Margo Anderson.

Margo Anderson (1943-2010) sounded like an amazing person and tireless volunteer, mother and teacher.  Her work in the local community led to the playground being dedicated in her memory on June 30th, 2011.

Here's some info from the City of St. Louis Resolution #136 that made the dedication official.
WHEREAS, Margo Anderson was born February 11, 1943 in St. Louis to James Williams and Thelma Chandler; and

WHEREAS, Margo was preceded in her journey to heaven by her mother, Thelma Chandler,
brother, Ernest Chandler and son, George (Butch) Anderson; and

WHEREAS, she loved everyone around her and never met a stranger. She was a mother to many
and a friend to all; and

WHEREAS, Margo was a dedicated teacher and worked for Headstart for over 20 years. She was a parent volunteer with Mathew Dickey Boys Club and worked on various neighborhood
improvement projects; and

WHEREAS, Margo was a dedicated servant for many years as a Board Member of Union West Community Corporation, the local housing organization. She actively served as the block captain
in the 1400 block of Temple Avenue for many years and was one of the best neighbors throughout the City of St. Louis; and

WHEREAS, up until the day of her departure on May 17, 2010, it was always a dream for Mrs. Anderson to see a playground in the neighborhood that would provide a nice and safe place for
children to play. 
If the family or friends of Ms. Anderson come across this post, and you have a photo you'd be willing to share, I'd love to add that context to help memorialize her contributions to the community.

2 comments:

simpsontee said...

Hi Mark. I *think* I may be your anonymous source; I did post a comment on your blog a few weeks back with Sime information on Hamilton Park and the Cardinals Care Field.

You're right re: Unity Park; there's not much out there. I was able to find one document on the city's site showing the city parks' amenities. It includes Unity Park and lists its location at Thekla & Riverview:

https://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/parks/documents/upload//Park-List.pdf

A quick look on Street View does show a nicely manicured (at least as of October 2011) small park in front of the old Walnut Park school with some sort of monument in the center.

Hope that's useful...

Mark Groth said...

Thanks so much "simpsontee" for the tip. Your hunch on Unity Park matches a fireman friend of mine who knows that part of the city better than anyone else I know. I am heading up there soon and will document the park! And the city website is inaccurate stating Unity in Baden vs. Walnut Park East. Again thanks for reading and sharing your knowledge of the city!