Jack Waite Park makeover unveiled
Published 12:48 am Sunday, October 4, 2015
NATCHEZ — Sanquanett Allen tries to take walks every morning in Jack Waite Park.
“I’ve been instructed by my doctor that I should exercise, and it would help improve my health,” Allen said.
Allen is diabetic, and said her doctor instructed her to eat healthy foods in addition to exercising. She’ll be able to explore both at the newly renovated park, which had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday.
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The park received a makeover after it, along with North Natchez Park, was given more than $90,000 in grant funds from My Brother’s Keeper.
Regional Project Coordinator Shamir Gates was there, along with other city officials and Executive Director of Shape Up Mississippi Linda Fondren, to celebrate the official opening.
“What we want to do is really just create a culture of health by providing access for the community so they’ll have opportunities to engage in physical activity,” Gates said.
Fondren, who said she was asked to host the event, said the park offered was a chance to bring people together and increase quality of living by being healthier.
“If we are a healthy community, it means we are a prosperous community,” Fondren said.
The park now features more than 10 new pieces of outdoor playground equipment in addition to fitness equipment, such as a sit-up bench. Allen said the fitness equipment will be useful if she ever gets bored or tired of walking.
“I can kind of switch up the routine,” Allen said.
The park also has a 20-by-20 foot community vegetable garden in which attendees began planting seeds in after the ribbon cutting. Along with the Natchez Farmers’ Market, Allen said the garden would provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Gates said the garden would help educate children about food.
“A lot of kids think food comes from Walmart,” Gates said.
Allen also thinks the garden will be a good learning tool for children, especially her grandchildren.
“They will get the opportunity to learn where their food comes from and, hopefully, appreciate our world better,” Allen said.
Allen’s 14-year-old granddaughter, Kyrah Allen, said the park will allow her brothers and sisters opportunities to get out of the house more. Kyrah Allen said she likes the vegetable garden.
“I think that it’s amazing,” Kyrah Allen said. “It’s a very good thing to do.”
She also said the garden would help her grandmother.
“It’ll motivate her to do better with eating,” Kyrah Allen said.
Overall, Sanquanett Allen said she was impressed with the park.
“It’s just a good improvement and provides us with no excuse not to do better,” Allen said, referring to eating and exercising.