Volunteers taking park from dream to reality

Members of the local chapters of the “Divine 9” historically black sororities and fraternities converged on Midre Cummings Park, in Frederiksted, St. Croix, on Saturday.

ST. CROIX — Volunteers converged over the weekend at Midre Cummings Park in Frederiksted to transform the green space with a new and improved playground.

They came from all walks of life and all ages, and many came in groups representing non-profit groups, construction companies, schools, the private sector and government offices. The site buzzed with activity as dozens of groups came out to dig holes, haul lumber, saw, drill and assemble playground equipment. With many more volunteers expected to take part in the coming days, the teams over the weekend included J. Benton Construction, Northshore Partners, V.I. National Guard and Air National Guard, University of the Virgin Islands ROTC, Rotary Clubs, Lions Club, Limetree Bay and local chapters of the “Divine 9” black sororities and fraternities.

But many volunteers were just individuals who came out on their ownn inspired to do their part to make the new playground a reality. Volunteers like Edmund Fieulleteau, a woodworker and artisan, worked the entire day Saturday.

Sanaa Joseph Smith, St. Croix Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, organized the local chapters of the black sororities and fraternities to work a four-hour shift on Saturday.

“Each of our organizations has a strong community focus and this project was a great opportunity for us to bring our joint forces together for a project that will impact the entire community,” Smith said. “Anytime we can get the community to come out and have an impact, it gives us ownership. We will come back the park and say, ‘I put this together’ and then we will take pride in the park, and we will take care of it.”

Children First St. Croix and the V.I. Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation are spearheading the project with Play By Design, which specializes in customized community-built playgrounds. When finished, the park will include slides, swings, obstacle course, monkey bars, tables, trike track, walking path, covered areas and activities to stimulate children physically and emotionally. There will also be cultural and historical references throughout the park, including elaborate mocko jumbie sculptures at the park’s entrances.

The project still needs many more volunteers to bring it to completion on Saturday, according to organizers. Special skills are not necessary and there is something for everyone of any ability to do. However, individuals with construction skills and experience working with power tools are also in need.

Construction of the park continues today and through to Saturday with a break on Tuesday. To sign up, call Linda Garvin at 340-690-3002 or email garvinlj@gmail.com. There are three shifts starting at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.