However, there are bright spots. The charter school that is across the street from us closed this year due to politics and enrollment issues. On the property is a play area constructed right after we moved in. NASCAR hottie Tony Stewart was there with his obnoxiously loud car and in the matter of a day, the play structure went up with the help of hundreds of community members. Anna and Eli have played there countless times and love it. We love it as it is right in our front yard. However, the sad trombones started playing once the school year was over and demolition began on the play area. The border and mulch were stripped out and yellow tape was strung to keep the kids out. We were okay with this as we had built the play area in our back yard and the kids seem to like it, however, it was a loss for our already blighted neighborhood. In checking with a neighbor who had worked at the school, the owners didn’t want it as a liability now that the school was vacant.We left for camping last week and the yellow tape was still up, upon our return, the tape was down and things look spruced up. A few conversations in the SoHI (South of High) ‘hood uncovered the fact that a woman from our old church (and the first person to give us a gift when Anna was born) raised a stink with the school’s owners and the wheels started turning and the park is now open again. A quick conversation with the minister in the parking lot confirmed all this and uncovered even more info: the church is leasing the tract of land and supplying the liability insurance to keep the park open. The church had a mentoring program with the school, so their investment in the kids is going beyond the weekly support/mentoring meetings by putting up the cash to keep this park open. I am happy to hear this, as our city is so poor they can’t even be bothered with this tract of land and have basically removed it from their parks and rec programs.
Is this enough to make me go back to church? No. I am done with organized religion. I am done with the emotional investment and the lack of denominational support on many levels. However, I do recognize that a small group of people can make a difference and I applaud them for that. To the fine people of Trinity United Methodist Church, my hat is off to you.