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Neighborhood park coming to White Rock Hill

Neighborhood park coming to White Rock Hill

Only $5 for 5 months

Corey LaPrade was leveling a lot at the corner of Tulip and Oak Streets in White Rock Hill on Wednesday for a new neighborhood park.

He had laid the asphalt for the basketball half-court a few days before, and was using fill dirt to lay the area for the swing set. Before swinging up into the seat of his Bobcat excavator, he pointed out where the playground and monkey bars might go on the lot.

Like many of the people helping out with the project, LaPrade, with Save To Pave LLC, was doing a portion of the work at no charge.

A sloping parcel of land, the prospective park is bordered by two-story residences, and people walking by stopped to look at the construction or watched from their porch.

Growing up in White Rock Hill in the 1950s, Pastor James Camm remembers walking to the Diamond Hill recreation center about a mile away to find somewhere to play basketball or hang out with friends.

Even now, the historic neighborhood south of Franklin Hill, bounded by Florida Avenue, the James River and Fishing Creek, does not have a park or community center of its own where children can play.

After No Walls Ministry broke ground on a neighborhood park at the corner of Tulip and Oak streets in June, that is about to change.

Andy and Lori Flowers, members of the ministry, have been buying property on Tulip Street for years, renovating the homes and providing affordable housing in the neighborhood.

This property, bought about two years ago, was in bad shape, Lori Flowers said. After leveling the house that stood on the property, they were left with an empty lot at the center of the neighborhood, the perfect place for a playground.

Lori Flowers said now more than ever children need to have these resources available to them — especially with summer camps, schools and sports leagues closed around the city.

She said people have donated time and money to help clear the property and create a park for local youths to enjoy.

Flowers said she had heard a good response from neighborhood residents, and the day they broke ground, a girl was watching it happen with a basketball in hand.

“Not yet,” Flowers said, laughing. “But it’s coming.”

Camm, said he is excited about the project and plans to get involved with No Walls Ministry through his own church, Living Word Ministries.

He would have liked to have this park growing up, he said, adding it’s crucial for something so positive to be coming to the area.

“We need to continue to invest in our youth in this kind of way,” Camm said. “This is a new start, and we should not stop.”

Neil Massey, executive director of No Walls Ministry, said the organization’s mission is to help churches work cross-culturally and cross-denominationally to meet the needs of the local community.

Massey said the nonprofit was formed as a center of “racial reconciliation,” and community service projects include helping to renovate and refurbish homes and provide direct assistance to people in need.

The park is a project a few years in the making, he said, but now that it’s officially started, they hope to have it done in the next six to eight weeks.

“We aren’t a group that just hands out food or housing or repairs randomly,” Flowers said. “We do it with an eye on relationships. We want to develop relationships with people so that we can share our lives together, because that’s where the meaning is.”

Sarah Honosky covers Appomattox and Campbell counties at The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5556.

Sarah Honosky covers Appomattox and Campbell counties at The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5556. 

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